October 14, 2013 – Today, Cover Oregon––the state’s new online health insurance marketplace––announced the distribution of ten yearlong Business Organization Grants to business associations throughout the state of Oregon, totaling more than $604,000. The grants will help small businesses throughout Oregon find health insurance options that best fit the needs of their employees.
Through gatherings, videos, brochures, social media and other community approaches, grantees will reach out to members as well as other small businesses across the state. Grantees will explain the benefits and advantages of using Cover Oregon, the choices that exist for offering health insurance options to employees, as well as help employers identify the business tax credits for which they may qualify. Additionally, each association will invite members to provide feedback about Cover Oregon so that the marketplace can continually strengthen small business resources.
“Many businesses want to provide insurance for their employees or help their employees find insurance that works for them but have found the process to be cumbersome. Cover Oregon gives businesses an easy, cost-effective way to offer unprecedented choice to their employees,” said Amy Fauver, Chief Communication Officer at Cover Oregon. “We are excited to work with the grant recipients as they serve their communities.”
One grantee, the Oregon Trucking Association (OTA), will use funds to reach the 7,500 trucking companies based around the state––the majority of which are small, locally owned businesses––with information about Cover Oregon and available cost savings. Like many small businesses, Oregon’s trucking industry often struggles to find affordable, quality health insurance options for workers. Due to the solitary conditions and transitory nature of the work, it can be hard for mainstream advertising and other information to reach truckers. To offset this, the OTA will host focus groups, include information in its weekly newsletter and create a short video loaded onto CD’s and distributed through truck stops across the state.
“The trucking industry offers a nontraditional working environment with its own unique set of health needs. Affordable and easy to use health insurance is critical for Oregon’s smaller trucking companies,” said Debra Dunn, President of the Oregon Trucking Association. "We are pleased to be able to work with Cover Oregon to not only share information about the benefits of Cover Oregon with Oregon’s trucking companies, but to help Cover Oregon learn more about a vital business sector that drives Oregon’s economy.”
Cover Oregon’s online health insurance marketplace will allow small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to provide their employees with a broad selection of easy-to-compare medical and dental plan options. Employers will also have the option of contributing a set dollar amount toward their employees’ health insurance coverage and let employees shop on Cover Oregon for the insurance carrier and plan that best meets their needs. Once enrollment is complete, Cover Oregon is responsible for billing, reconciliation and renewal activity. Instead of receiving multiple bills from various carriers, the employer will receive a single monthly bill from Cover Oregon, easing administrative burden and costs.
On CoverOregon.com small businesses can browse plan options and find a certified agent to help with enrollment. Businesses can opt to have their benefits begin any month of the year.
Following is a list of grantees:
· Oregon Trucking Association, Statewide
· Small Business Majority, Statewide
· Main Street Alliance, Statewide
· Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, Statewide
· Oregon Native American Chamber, Statewide
· Oregon Microenterprise Network, Statewide
· Oregon Business Association, Statewide
· Marion-Polk County Medical Society, Marion and Polk Counties
· Keizer Chamber of Commerce, Marion and Polk Counties
· Klamath Chamber of Commerce, Klamath County