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La Corte Suprema confirma la ACA; los Oregonianos siguen teniendo acceso a la cobertura del seguro médico y a los ahorros - 06/18/21

(Salem) – La Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos confirmó ayer la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible (ACA, por sus siglas en inglés) en su decisión en el caso de California contra Texas, No. 19-840.

El caso se centró en la validez de la ACA. Dieciocho estados, dirigido por Texas, intentaron anular toda la ACA. Otros 21 estados, dirigido por California y acompañados por Oregón, defendieron la ACA.

La decisión marca la tercera decisión de este tipo desde el inicio de la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible, incluyendo el caso de 2012 de la Federación Nacional de Empresas Independientes contra Sebelius (567 U.S. 519) y el caso de 2015 de King contra Burwell (576 U.S. 473). La tercera decisión de la Corte Suprema marca una enorme victoria para la ACA, permitiendo a las personas en todo de los Estados Unidos el acceso a la cobertura médica y a la asistencia financiera a través del Mercado.

"Esta decisión de la Corte Suprema de hoy es una gran victoria para los más de 500.000 habitantes de Oregón que obtuvieron cobertura a través de la ACA, independientemente de su historial de salud o estado médico", dijo la gobernadora Kate Brown. "La decisión de hoy también protege a todos los habitantes de Oregón con cobertura médica, manteniendo las protecciones para las condiciones preexistentes, previniendo los límites de por vida y los límites anuales en la cobertura de salud, y permitiendo que los adultos jóvenes permanezcan cubiertos por el plan de sus padres. Todavía tenemos mucho trabajo que hacer para garantizar a todos el acceso a cobertura de calidad y asequible, pero este es un paso importante."

La Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible, aprobada en marzo de 2010, prohíbe a las compañías de seguros médicos denegar la cobertura a los afiliados que tengan problemas de salud preexistentes. La ley establece parámetros sobre cómo las compañías de seguros médicos calculan las primas. Además, a los inscritos que cumplen los requisitos, la ACA permite recibir la ayuda financiera tanto para las primas mensuales como para los gastos de bolsillo, que hace la cobertura médica más asequible para millones de estadounidenses. Más de ocho de cada diez habitantes de Oregón habrían perdido la ayuda financiera si la ACA se considerara inválida, y miles habrían perdido la cobertura por completo.

"Oregón ha abrazado la Ley de Cuidado de Salud Asequible desde el principio, y seguirá esforzándose para que todos los Oregonianos tengan una cobertura médica de calidad", dijo el Comisionado de Seguros de Oregón, Andrew Stolfi. "La ACA ayuda a poner ese objetivo al alcance de miles de Oregonianos con una cobertura de calidad".

Los habitantes de Oregón tienen acceso a más asistencia financiera gracias a la ACA y al Plan de Rescate Americano, y pueden inscribirse en la cobertura de salud hasta el 15 de agosto debido a la pandemia de COVID-19. Puede averiguar qué cobertura y ahorros están disponibles para usted visitando OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop. Hay ayuda local gratuita de expertos en cobertura en todo Oregón. Puede encontrar ayuda local en CuidadoDeSalud.Oregon.gov.

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El Mercado de Seguros Médicos de Oregon, una parte del gobierno estatal, ayuda a las personas a conseguir seguro médico cuando no tienen cobertura a través de su trabajo, y no califican para el Plan de Salud de Oregon u otro programa. El Mercado es el socio al nivel estatal a CuidadoDeSalud.gov, y una división del Departamento de Servicios para Consumidores y Negocios (DCBS, por sus siglas en inglés). Para obtener más información, visite CuidadoDeSalud.Oregon.gov.

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Supreme Court upholds ACA; Oregonians still have access to health insurance coverage and savings - 06/17/21

(Salem) – The United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) today in its decision in the case of California v. Texas, No. 19-840.

The case centered on the validity of the ACA. Eighteen states, led by Texas, sought to have the entire ACA struck down. Another 21 states, led by California and joined by Oregon, defended the ACA.  

The decision marks the third such decision since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, including the 2012 case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (567 U.S. 519) and the 2015 case of King v. Burwell (576 U.S. 473). The third Supreme Court decision marks a huge victory for the ACA, allowing people throughout the United States access to health coverage and financial assistance through the Marketplace.

"This Supreme Court decision today is a huge victory for the more than 500,000 Oregonians who gained coverage through the ACA, regardless of health history or medical status,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “Today's decision also protects all Oregonians with health care coverage, maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions, preventing lifetime caps and annual limits on health coverage, and allowing young adults to stay covered by their parents' plan. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure everyone access to quality, affordable health care, but this is an important step."

The Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage to enrollees who have pre-existing health conditions. The law sets parameters on how health insurance companies calculate premiums. In addition, the ACA allows eligible enrollees to tap into financial assistance for both monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, making health coverage more affordable for millions of Americans. More than eight in 10 Oregonians would have lost financial assistance if the ACA was deemed invalid, and thousands would have lost coverage altogether.

“Oregon has embraced the Affordable Care Act since the beginning, and will continue to strive to get all Oregonians covered in quality health coverage,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “The ACA helps put that goal within reach by providing quality coverage to thousands of Oregonians.”

Oregonians have access to expanded financial assistance thanks to the ACA and the American Rescue Plan, and are able to enroll in health coverage through Aug. 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out what coverage and savings are available to you by visiting OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop. Free local help is available from coverage experts throughout Oregon. You can find local help at OregonHealthCare.gov.

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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.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day recognizes need to protect seniors from financial fraud - 06/15/21

Salem – Financial abuse can happen to anyone at any time, but perpetrators often target seniors. Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation asks everyone to be on the lookout for the financial exploitation of seniors.

Scammers use several tactics to gain trust from seniors in order to steal their finances. Unfortunately, some of these offenders are the guardians who are responsible for acting in the person’s best interest. Guardians are often a person the senior trusts and is granted control of the person’s assets. Financial abuse or exploitation often occurs when the guardian improperly uses the financial resources of a senior.

“Legal guardians are important resources for many older people, and it is vital for guardians to always act in the best interest of the person in their charge,” said TK Keen, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “Learning to recognize the signs of elder financial abuse and how to report it enables all of us to protect Oregon seniors.”

Senior financial exploitation can be difficult to identify. Here are six examples to watch for:

  • A new and overly protective friend or caregiver, especially if the senior is considering surrendering financial control to the person.
  • Fear of someone or a sudden change in feelings about them.
  • A lack of knowledge about financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters.
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust, or beneficiary designation.
  • Unexplained checks made out to cash, unexplained loans, or unexplained disappearance of assets (cash, valuables, securities, etc.).
  • Suspicious signatures on the senior’s checks or other documents.

Call 855-503-SAFE (7233) (toll-free) if you believe an Oregon senior is being financially exploited. You can also visit the division’s protect yourself from fraud website for resources to prevent, report, and recover from financial abuse. 

The division is working with the North American Securities Administrators Association to share resources that will help people identify and report financial abuse. Visit serveourseniors.org for red flags to identify possible elder abuse by a guardian.

Finally, the division and several federal and state partners are providing comprehensive training to the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors about the Senior Safe Act.

Oregon’s Senior Safe Act makes securities industry professionals mandatory reporters for suspected elder financial exploitation. Securities professionals, such as broker-dealers and investment advisors, should use the division’s file a suspected financial abuse report webpage when they suspect potential financial abuse of an Oregon senior.

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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 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 dfr.oregon.gov.

Death Row gifting club scam prevalent in Oregon - 06/09/21

Salem, Ore. – The pyramid scheme has a new look and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning consumers to steer clear. Gifting clubs, such as Death Row, are illegal pyramid schemes that are scamming several Oregonians. 

The Death Row gifting club, not associated with Death Row Records, was operating in Oregon last year. It advertised on social media and in online forums as a community wealth share group. More than 20 Oregonians lost their initial $1,400 investments.  

The Death Row gifting scheme promised financial returns of at least $9,000. The division was alerted to the scheme when an Oregonian reported not receiving anything in return for their $1,400 investment. The investment was not registered with the division and no one was licensed to sell investments in Death Row. Victims invested their money using a cloud-based payment platform and communicated with others about the investment during online forums for the Death Row program.

The division is still investigating the Death Row gift club. Anyone who has information about the scheme or was a victim of it are asked to contact the Division of Financial Regulation Advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free). 

“If someone invites you to join a gifting club, just say no to their high-pressure tactics and stories of high earnings,” said TK Keen, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “The simple reality is that only a few people profit from these schemes at the expense of everyone else who ultimately lose their investments.”  

Gifting club schemes are similar to pyramid schemes because no new money is created. Members of the scheme encourage friends, family, and co-workers to give gifts of cash to higher ranking members. The only way for a person to recover the initial investment is to bring new members into the scheme.

The division has three tips to spot an illegal gifting scheme:

  • Promises of cash, gifts, or electronic payments via mail, email, or social media
  • The primary focus is to recruit new investors – no goods or services are being sold
  • No written agreements and the promoters boast about high earnings of a few people

Oregonians are encouraged to contact the Division of Financial Regulation’s consumer advocacy team if they spot a gifting scheme or believe they are a victim of one. Advocates can be reached at 888-877-4894 (toll-free), email .financialserviceshelp@oregon.gov">dfr.financialserviceshelp@oregon.gov, or by visiting dfr.oregon.gov.  

Do not become a victim of an illegal gifting scheme. Be skeptical about investment opportunities, avoid giving your personal information to strangers, and remember – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information about investments and protecting yourself from investment fraud, visit the division’s avoid investment fraud page. 

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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

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Oregon OSHA cites 4 employers in May for COVID-19 violations, including willful failures to protect workers - 06/07/21

(Salem) – Oregon OSHA issued citations with penalties totaling $44,600 to four employers in May, with all of the cases involving willful violations of rules designed to protect workers from potential exposure to the coronavirus disease.

The citations were issued to two restaurants, a bakery, and a wood products company in Deschutes, Wasco, Linn, and Multnomah counties, respectively. Penalties ranged from $8,900 to $17,800. Violations included willfully failing to ensure workers and customers wore face coverings indoors, and willfully allowing indoor dining despite operating in a county that was designated as an “extreme risk” for transmission of COVID-19.

The following employers were cited:

  • Obstructed View Incorporated (Cork Cellars Wine and Bistro) – Sisters – willfully chose to allow indoor dining despite a public health order limiting capacity to zero in Deschutes County.
    • Total penalty: $17,800 (citation has been appealed)
  • Loretta Birky (Country Bakery) – Halsey – willfully did not ensure face coverings were worn inside the establishment (penalty: $8,900). Also committed a serious violation by not posting the required “COVID-19 Hazards Poster” for workers to see.
    • Total penalty: $9,000 (citation has not been appealed but order is not final)
  • Last Stop LLC – The Dalles – willfully chose to allow indoor dining despite a public health order limiting capacity to zero in Wasco County.
    • Total penalty: $8,900 (citation has been appealed)
  • Creative Woodworking Northwest Inc. – Portland – willfully did not ensure face coverings were worn inside the establishment.
    • Total penalty: $8,900 (citation has been appealed)

Ongoing refusals to correct violations and come into compliance with workplace health and safety standards can lead to additional higher penalties. Meanwhile, if an Oregon OSHA inspection documents violations while a county is at extreme risk, but the county’s risk level drops before the citation is issued, the citation will still be issued. The change in risk levels may affect how the violation needs to be corrected, but not whether it is cited.

For an overview of the COVID-19-related citations the division has issued since the beginning of the pandemic, visit: Oregon OSHA Citations Identified as Related to COVID-19 .       

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers and workers free resources that involve no fault, no citations, and no penalties. They include consultation services that provide assistance with safety and health programs, and technical experts who help employers understand requirements.

More workplace guidance and resources regarding COVID-19 are available.

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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.

 

 

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Oregon OSHA will repeal parts of COVID-19 workplace rule in line with governor's announced vaccination target - 06/07/21

(Salem) – As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown  announced last week, once Oregon reaches the 70 percent vaccination threshold the state will not require masks and face coverings in almost all settings, with some exceptions following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. The governor has also asked Oregon OSHA to review its workplace rules and update them based on this decision.

Consistent with the governor’s decision, Oregon OSHA intends to repeal the basic face covering and physical distancing requirements of its COVID-19 rule when the state reaches 70 percent of its adults vaccinated against the virus with at least one dose. Oregon OSHA is also convening stakeholders to review its COVID-19 rules in light of the governor’s announcement and to determine whether other provisions should be repealed. Oregon OSHA expects to begin those discussions during the week of June 14.

Oregon OSHA extended its rule, which took effect May 4, to maintain risk-reducing safety measures for workers against the coronavirus. Although the rule includes several changes based on the public comments received since the rule was proposed in late January, the basic requirements are largely consistent with those that have been in place since Oregon OSHA adopted a temporary workplace rule in November of last year. The rule largely reflects the guidance produced by the Oregon Health Authority and enforced in the workplace by Oregon OSHA.

When it extended the rule in May, Oregon OSHA committed to an ongoing process to eventually repeal it. As part of that process, Oregon OSHA will consult with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, the two Infectious Disease Rulemaking Advisory Committees, and other stakeholders.

Learn more about Oregon OSHA’s workplace guidance and resources related to COVID-19: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/re/covid-19.aspx

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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, go to 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.oregon.gov/dcbs/.  

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