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Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace logo
Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace logo
More Oregonians eligible for financial assistance to purchase health insurance | People have until Dec. 15 to enroll in health insurance (Photo) - 10/28/20

(Salem) – Pandemic-related job losses have increased the number of Oregonians eligible for help paying for health insurance. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace estimates thousands of Oregonians may be newly eligible.

In recent years, Oregon had made great strides in reducing the uninsured rate. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 94 percent of all Oregonians had health coverage. Since the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians either have lost their job or have experienced a loss in income. As a result, these Oregonians may be newly eligible for financial help to purchase health insurance.

Insurance agents and community partner organizations throughout the state are available to help with applying for financial assistance and choosing private plans. Consumers can also browse plans and find out how much savings they are eligible for by going to OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop.

Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare may qualify for help paying for 2021 coverage at OregonHealthCare.gov. Even if people are temporarily uninsured, they can sign up for help by the Dec. 15 deadline to get health insurance for next year.

“A pandemic is no time to go without health insurance and the essential health benefits that come with it,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “You can get help paying for health insurance based on your income. Don’t assume you make too much to be eligible.”

Individuals making $51,040 or less per year, and families of four making $104,800 or less, may get help paying for coverage. In 2020, more than seven in 10 Oregonians who chose plans through HealthCare.gov got financial help for monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. These savings lowered the average premium to just $145 per month.

To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov before Dec. 15 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. Or they can search the “get help” directory on the site to find an insurance agent or community partner organization who can help them complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.

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The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Oregon OSHA logo
Oregon OSHA logo
Roseburg contractor fined more than $38,000 for multiple job safety violations (Photo) - 10/22/20

Salem – Oregon OSHA has fined a general contractor in Roseburg more than $38,000 for multiple serious job safety violations, including repeatedly failing to follow the minimum requirements to protect workers from fall hazards that could kill them.

The division cited Mid Oregon Builders LLC following an inspection prompted by a confidential complaint. The inspection included an examination of work activity at residential construction sites in Sutherlin, Winston, and Roseburg; interviews of employees and a supervisor; and a review of the company’s recordkeeping practices.

In one violation, the company failed to follow requirements to implement adequate fall protection systems – such as personal fall arrest or guardrail systems – where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level. One example involved roofing work at a jobsite in Sutherlin, where the company left employees in danger of potentially falling at least 13 feet.

The failure to comply with Oregon OSHA’s six-foot trigger-height requirements was a repeat violation by Mid Oregon Builders. In fact, it was the fourth such violation committed by the company since October 2018.

Under Oregon OSHA’s rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses. In this case, the division cited Mid Oregon Builders $36,000 for not ensuring employees are protected from falling when working six feet or more above a lower level.

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

“Our fall protection requirements are designed to prevent serious injury or death, and they have proven effective at protecting workers,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “Repeatedly failing to take them seriously demonstrates a lack of responsibility and serves only one purpose – to further put lives at risk.”

The citation against Mid Oregon Builders proposes a total fine of $38,390. In addition to the repeat violation, the citation includes the following four serious violations:

  • The company did not ensure employees were trained by a competent person qualified in the use and operation of fall protection systems, such as guardrail systems and personal fall arrest systems. Proposed penalty: $490.
  • The company did not take all reasonable steps to provide adequate fall protection and to ensure employees used protective systems while working on elevated surfaces so they could safely accomplish their work. Proposed penalty: $1,400.
  • The employer did not provide copies of injury and illness records for 2019 in a timely manner. Proposed penalty: $150.
  • The employer did not enter each recordable injury or illness on the proper documents in a timely manner for 2018 and 2019. Proposed penalty: $350.

The citation issued against Mid Oregon Builders includes a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company. In addition to the increase in the penalty for the repeat violation, the fine amount reflects upward adjustments for the company’s poor faith and negative history. 

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection.

Learn more about help provided by Oregon OSHA’s consultation services, technical staff, and additional education and training services.

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

Attached Media Files: Oregon OSHA logo , DCBS logo
Community Bank Week recognizes a vital member of Oregon communities - 10/21/20

Salem – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has proclaimed Oct. 19 – 23 as Community Bank Week. The week honors local banks and their employees for their economic and civic contributions in communities across the state.

Oregon community banks provide more than 7,200 family wage jobs, $3.7 billion in home purchase and refinance loans, and safeguards $35.5 billion in deposits.

Oregon’s community banks, most of which are chartered by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, play an essential role in promoting the economic health and prosperity of the state. In some communities, they are the sole provider of banking products and services and sometimes the largest employer.

“Our state banks are a major financing source for Oregonians in every corner of the state; they create jobs, support small businesses, and back 80 percent of the state’s agriculture,” said Andrew Stolfi, DCBS director. “Their commitment to this state is evident through the thousands of volunteer hours and the millions they have pledged to support people affected by COVID-19, the wildfires, and racial inequality.”

State-chartered banks throughout Oregon are celebrating Community Bank Week in their local neighborhoods. To learn more about Oregon’s state chartered banks, go to https://www.oregonbankers.com/local.html.

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
 

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and www.dfr.oregon.gov.

Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace logo
Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace logo
See how much health coverage may cost at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop (Photo) - 10/15/20

(Salem) – Oregonians are looking for ways to protect their household budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care needs are not always something people can predict, but unexpected costs for care can cripple a budget. However, a window shopping tool allows Oregonians to see how much they can save on private health insurance coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

Oregonians can get quality coverage and financial savings through the Marketplace. The window shopping tool is now available at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop for consumers to preview plan options and receive estimates to lower costs for 2021 to prepare for open entollment.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 and is the only time of year many people can buy private health insurance. In 2020, more than 70 percent of Oregonians who purchased individual health insurance qualified for financial help, lowering the average premium to just $142 per month.

Visiting OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop can help you answer these questions:

  • What coverage do I qualify for?
  • How much financial help can I get?
  • What would my health plan cover?
  • What are my next steps?

“Health insurance through the Marketplace is quality coverage that protects Oregonians from current and future health issues,” said Chiqui Flowers, Marketplace administrator. “The updated tool can help Oregonians find the true cost of coverage available to them.”

For 2021, Oregonians will have more options than they had in the past few years. Regence and BridgeSpan join Providence in providing statewide coverage, and all Oregonians will be able to choose from at least 15 health insurance plans.

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The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, visit OregonHealthCare.gov.

Oregon SHIBA
Oregon SHIBA
Medicare open enrollment begins today: Changes are coming and help is available (Photo) - 10/15/20

(Salem) – People with Medicare have until Dec. 7 to make changes to their health plans and prescription drug coverage to meet their health care needs for 2021. Medicare’s open enrollment period for 2021 benefits started today.

There are several changes for the 2021 plan year. They are:

  • 29 prescription drug plans
  • More than 100 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, including a new Medicare Medical Savings Account MA option, available in all Oregon counties  
  • Part D senior savings model for diabetic supplies
  • Acupuncture, telehealth, and other virtual services
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for 2021

Visit Medicare.gov/Plan-Compare to find 2021 health and drug plans, compare coverage options, or estimate Medicare costs. For more details, check out the 2021 Medicare and You book or Medicare.gov.

The Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is available to help beneficiaries understand their options. To find free, local Medicare counseling help, go to dcbspage.org/SHIBALOCAL or call 800-722-4134 (toll-free) to speak to a state-certified Medicare counselor.

SHIBA counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Medicare.gov Plan Finder tool to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits. All of these services are available remotely statewide to ensure the safety of both clients and counselors.

Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov.

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Oregon SHIBA is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Attached Media Files: Oregon SHIBA
SHIBA logo
SHIBA logo
Local help is available from Oregon SHIBA ahead of Medicare open enrollment, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 (Photo) - 10/01/20

(Salem) – Each October, open enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare plans and drug formularies change each year, so it is important for Oregonians who are enrolled in Medicare to evaluate their plan options and make changes during open enrollment, which is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

In a pandemic, this year is no different. The Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is still available to help, but only remotely at this time.

“In normal times, Medicare is a complex program,” said Chiqui Flowers, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and SHIBA administrator. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, open enrollment will be harder to navigate, but we are available to serve beneficiaries and we’ll get through this hard time together.”

To help stop the spread of the virus and to keep counselors and vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries safe, SHIBA will be providing only phone, email, and web meeting counseling sessions until further notice. All Medicare open enrollment information sessions will be held virtually through live and recorded webinars available on SHIBA’s website, SHIBA.Oregon.gov.

SHIBA counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Medicare.gov Plan Finder Tool (Medicare.gov/plan-compare) to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits..

SHIBA’s 2021 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans will be available on SHIBA.Oregon.gov by Oct. 15 and in limited print copies in November. Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting SHIBA.Oregon.gov.

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Oregon SHIBA is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov to receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more. Follow Oregon SHIBA on Facebook: Facebook.com/OregonSHIBA.

Attached Media Files: SHIBA logo
Statewide Wildfire Insurance Town Hall this Thursday - 09/30/20

Salem – Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi will host the statewide virtual Wildfire Insurance Town Hall on Thursday, Oct. 1, at noon.

He will be joined by representatives from the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation to answer common questions about wildfire insurance, the claims process, and how the division can help Oregonians.

Everyone affected by the wildfires are encouraged to tune in to the live stream on the division’s video webpage. You can also listen to the town hall by calling 888-808-6929 (toll-free), access code 1369311.

“Our goal for the wildfire town hall is to provide Oregonians with important information they can use right now to take some initial steps toward recovery,” said Stolfi, who is also the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “Recovery will take time, but we are here to help Oregonians through every phase of their insurance claim.”

Oregonians can submit questions before the town hall. The commissioner and division representatives will answer as many questions as possible during the event.

The town hall will be recorded and captioned in both English and Spanish for people who have difficulty hearing, as well as many of those who are not native English speakers. That recording will be made available as soon as the captioning is complete.

The division’s wildfire insurance page has resources and contact information to help answer many wildfire insurance questions. The division is also prepared to help people in any language they choose. Visit dfr.oregon.gov/help for more information.

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. 

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx.