Oregon Legislature convenes to determine the course for the last days of the legislative session of February

February is quickly coming to an end, but the Oregon Legislature still has much to discuss. State lawmakers met in the city of Salem this week to map out their plans for what remains of this month’s legislative session. The topics that will receive their attention in these latter days are education initiatives, construction bonds, logging and use of water, and the state’s plans to build its own health insurance exchange. Notably, Governor John Kitzhaber’s plans to reform the state’s Medicaid program have been cut from the current session. Though…

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Federal leeway on insurance benefits may push back plans for a health insurance exchange in Oregon

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that it would allow states to take control of the benefits they offer to consumers through their health insurance exchange program. While hailed as a major boon for states, the added leeway may push back efforts to form an exchange, such is the case in Oregon, where legislators have delayed current plans to further investigate how an exchange will affect the state’s insurance industry and its consumers. Director of the Oregon insurance exchange Howard “Rocky” King claims that the exchange could extend coverage to…

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Oregon’s low cost health insurer takes a rate hike

Last week, Oregon-based Regence Blue Cross Blue shield was called upon to answer concerns from regulators regarding proposed rate increase of 22%. The state’s Insurance Division hosted the public meeting, the first of its kind in more than two decades. 200 Oregon residents attended the meeting to hear firsthand the rationalization behind the rate change proposal. They were also given the opportunity to make comment and question company officials regarding the issue. Regence provides insurance customers to 12% of the state’s population. The insurer often provides affordable coverage for those…

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Oregon health insurance rates on the rise

Health insurance providers in Oregon have been seeking approval for rate increases for nearly a year. Some may be getting their wish, but will not be able to raise rates as much as they had originally planned. The Oregon Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services has granted approval for half of the rate proposals they have been reviewing over the past year. While many companies will not see the increases they had hoped for, consumers stand to save more money on their policies. The Division approved…

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