Eligible Oregonians are encouraged to enroll in health care coverage by state officials

Thanks to federal health reform, the Oregon Health Plan will be available to more adults. Enrollment begins this week for coverage to start Jan. 1.

Cover Oregon includes those enrolling in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). More than 260,000 adult Oregonians have already been screened for OHP and do not need to apply through Cover Oregon. Fast-track enrollment is available to Oregonians who meet qualifications for OHP and have previously qualified for food benefits through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or health care benefits through Health Kids/OHP.

State officials are encouraging fast-track-eligible Oregon residents to return forms and get enrolled in health care coverage. Starting this week, the Oregon Health Authority will mail fast track enrollment forms to those qualified.

“If you are a pre-screened Oregon resident, you do not have to go through the application process at Cover Oregon,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority. “Just fill out the form and return it to us, and you will be signed up for health care coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2014.”

Eligibility for the adult Oregon Health plan is based on the federal poverty level. For 2014 benefits, income limit is 138 percent of the ethical poverty line or $1,317 per month or $15,800 per year for individuals. For a family of two, it’s $1,784 per month or $21,408 per year. The limit increases depending on the number of people in a family.

Not all adults who receive SNAP or whose children are enrolled in Healthy Kids will qualify for the Oregon Health Plan. They will receive a letter and instead should go to Cover Oregon to learn what financial assistance is available.

New Oregon Health plan members will be enrolled in a local coordinated care organization made up of providers of physical and mental care, as well as other services. Coordinated care organizations are part of Oregon’s movement to build a system delivering better health care at a lower cost. Under Oregon’s agreement with the federal government, health care costs will be lowered by 2 percentage points per capita in the 2013-2015 budget.

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