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DHS news release

April 3, 2008


Contact: Jim Sellers 503-945-5738
Program contact: Karen House 503-945-6254


April 10 is deadline for returning first Oregon Health Plan applications




If you are one of the 3,000 Oregonians who received an application for the Oregon Health Plan's Standard benefit package in March, you have until April 10 to return it if you want to be considered for eligibility.


The Oregon Department of Human Services sent postcards to recipients of the applications reminding them of the 30-day deadline and encouraging them to return applications even if some of the required documentation wasn't yet available.


"Nearly 1,300 applications have been returned," said Lynn Read, senior deputy administrator in the state Medicaid office of the Oregon Department of Human Services. "We will accept applications even if they are temporarily missing required documentation for such things as income or citizenship so long as the applicant is making a good-faith effort to obtain it."


The reminder from DHS comes as the agency prepares to send applications Monday to a second group of 3,000 people whose names a computer randomly selected from the 88,000-plus names remaining on the reservation list. The April mailing will bring to 6,000 the number of applications that have been mailed for the Standard benefit package, designed for uninsured low-income adults who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid.


Closed to new enrollments since June 2004, the Standard plan can support new enrollment from the reservation list because the current 17,700-person enrollment has fallen below the monthly average of 24,000 the budget can support during the two-year budget period.


People who are randomly selected from the reservation list are sent a special OHP-Standard application that includes their reservation number. Read said anyone who had lost his or her OHP-Standard application may request a new one from any DHS office or Area Agency on Aging office or by calling 1-800-359-9517. People should say they lost the OHP-Standard application that was mailed to them to ensure they are given a correct replacement. People who apply on any other application will not be enrolled in OHP-Standard.


She said assistance in completing the applications is available at any DHS office or Area Agency on Aging office or by calling 1-800-699-9075 (or, for people with hearing impairments, call 1-503-378-7800). If there is not time to mail the application back to Salem, it may be returned to a local DHS or AAA office by the April 10 deadline.


Read said people whose names are on the OHP-Standard reservation list should call 1-800-699-9075 if their mailing address changes.


The health plan's Plus program, meanwhile, is always open to uninsured low-income Oregonians who are aged, blind, disabled, pregnant, younger than 19 or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. An application may be requested by calling 1-800-359-9517 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Pacific time. Although the Standard plan has been in the news in recent weeks, Read said, tens of thousands of low-income Oregonians -- including an estimated 60,000 children -- are eligible for the Plus benefit package.


For any Oregon Health Plan medical program, the state has up to 45 days from the date the application is mailed to DHS to notify applicants whether they are eligible for coverage, a period that can be extended under certain circumstances, although applicants often are notified in as little as two weeks.


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