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DHS news release

March 31, 2008

Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Tanya Allen 503-945-6599

Oregon Health Plan's streamlined application to be introduced Tuesday

People who apply for Oregon Health Plan coverage will be asked to complete a new, streamlined application beginning Tuesday.

The basic application will have three pages of questions, down from nine in the former application. Applicants with special circumstances still may be required to complete additional pages.

"This will reduce the intimidation some people have felt in trying to deal with lengthier paperwork," said Lynn Read, senior deputy administrator in the state Medicaid office of the Oregon Department of Human Services. "We still are asking for the same information, but we are not asking people to struggle through pages that don't apply to them."

The application was tested last summer in Bend and Salem, and also was reviewed by state eligibility workers, health plan clients and health care advocates. Although shorter, the application retains a readable type size.

In April, the shortened application will be made available in English, with Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese versions added in May. Other languages may be added later, Read said.

The new application may be used to apply for any of the state's medical programs, and state eligibility workers will determine whether the applicant qualifies for any program. For example, eligibility requirements for people who are aged, blind or disabled differ from those for people who are pregnant or younger than 19.

To obtain an application, people may call 1-800-359-9517 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Pacific time. Applications also will be available at many clinics, hospitals and other Oregon Health Plan outreach centers. Or an application may be printed from the DHS Web site.

"In recent weeks news has focused on the Standard benefit package, for which the reservation list closed Feb. 29," Read said. "But tens of thousands of Oregonians -- including an estimated 60,000 children -- qualify for the OHP-Plus benefit package, which always is open."

The basic application asks for standard information such as name, address and contact information, Social Security number, income, assets and names of everyone in the household who is applying. An applicant may be required to complete additional pages if he or she has other health care coverage or is self-employed, for example.

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