Chris Gray

Schrader Marks Veterans Day with Listening Tour for Healthcare, Other Services

Reforms have allowed those who have trouble accessing healthcare to seek care outside the Veterans Administration system, but Schrader still supports building capacity within the VA’s outpatient clinics, which have benefits such as lower prescription drug costs.

U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader marked Veterans Day with a roundtable gathering at Chemeketa Community College, hearing directly from veterans groups and state and local service providers about the challenges they have had drawing down federal benefits.

COFA Islanders Rush to Enroll, but Face Obstacles in Special Insurance Program

A tight deadline has insurance brokers working overtime to help a group of Pacific Islanders to get insurance, but a rule requiring them to pay deductibles upfront has some members facing collection agencies.

The state is aggressively signing up people for a special health insurance program for Pacific Islanders, but the design of the program has barriers that are making it hard for the recipients to use their care, and some have been sent to collections.

Six-Week Open Enrollment for Obamacare Plans Begins

Most consumers will want to pick a plan that aligns with their physician rather than focus on cost. People purchasing subsidized health insurance on healthcare.gov will not see significant increases in cost, but Obamacare is increasingly gouging middle-class consumers who don’t qualify.

Open enrollment for the individual health insurance market begins today, with consumers purchasing subsidized plans on the healthcare.gov marketplace and unsubsidized plans through insurance brokers or directly from health insurers through Dec. 15.

New Cover Oregon Error May Put State on Hook for $74 Million in Overpayments

An examination of records by the new leadership at the Oregon Health Authority discovered that an error in the Cover Oregon process caused the state to categorize older, Medicare-eligible adults in the Medicaid expansion.

The Cover Oregon debacle continues to dog the Oregon Health Authority. Actuaries have newly discovered that more than 41,000 people were miscategorized over three years, which caused the state to draw down $74 million more federal dollars than it was allowed.

Children’s Health Insurance Planned for House Vote

Rep. Kurt Schrader said Democrats object to how funding for healthcare delivery reforms are being diverted to backfill the program. Rep. Greg Walden supports raising Medicare premiums for wealthy seniors and blamed Democrats for not offering a counter-proposal.

The U.S. House of Representatives plan to vote next week on a bill that will keep the lights on for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a longstanding federal program that insures almost 400,000 Oregon children.

Supreme Court Orders Cleaner Ballot Title for Measure 101 Healthcare Tax

The court rejected language from Democrats that the bulk of the hospital assessment could go ahead regardless of the outcome of the Jan. 23 election.

The Oregon Supreme Court has laid down the ground rules for Measure 101, the Oregon Health Plan funding referendum, approving much of the suggested title from the Democratic-led ballot committee while demanding some modifications requested from Republicans.

Oregon Plans to Backfill Trump Advertising Cuts for Insurance Enrollment

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will run TV ads for the first time since the Cover Oregon days to offset severe cuts from the federal government. A Senate fix is in the offing, but conservatives and the temperamental president may balk.

Where President Trump plans cuts, Oregon plans to fill in the gaps, with $1.8 million in support for the 2018 health insurance open enrollment period, which starts in less than two weeks on Nov. 1, and runs through Dec. 15.

PEBB Raises State Employee Costs for Out-of-Network Hospitals

Meanwhile, the board voted to scale back increases for other non-contracted providers rather than shift cost for these services to state workers. After meeting tight budget restraints for several years, PEBB saw costs soar in 2016 to 7 percent.

State workers will soon have to pay more for going to a hospital outside their health insurance network, but the Public Employee Benefit Board voted Tuesday to avert increases in coinsurance fees for other non-contracted providers.

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