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DHS news release

April 14, 2008


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


State gives Oregon Health Plan applicants more time to return paperwork




The 6,000 Oregonians who received applications for the Oregon Health Plan’s Standard benefit package in March and April are being notified they will have an additional 15 days to return the forms.


The requirement to return applications within 45 days, instead of the previous 30, will apply to OHP-Standard applications in future months and to other Oregon Health Plan programs, as well.


"We extended the deadline to bring the Oregon Health Plan in line with requirements for other DHS cash and medical benefit programs that allow 45 days," said Lynn Read, senior deputy administrator in the state Medicaid office of the Oregon Department of Human Services. "This will reduce possible confusion for both the public and our workers."


As of Monday morning, nearly 2,000 OHP-Standard applications had been returned. It is not yet known what share of applicants is being found eligible for coverage.


Read said DHS, which is concerned that more people hadn’t returned the highly sought-after OHP-Standard applications, called several hundred recipients in early April. She said many people said they had the applications and planned to return them, although some didn’t know a deadline was approaching.


For applications mailed in March, Read said, the new deadline is April 25 (instead of April 10) and the deadline for applications mailed in April will be May 23 (instead of May 8). DHS is mailing letters to people who received applications in those two months telling them about the change, she said.


Read said it is important for people to understand they may submit their applications even if they have not obtained all needed documentation, such as that for income or citizenship; that assistance in completing the application is available by calling 1-800-699-9075 (or, for hearing-impaired people, 503-378-7800); and that replacement applications are available from any DHS office, Area Agency on Aging office or by calling 1-800-359-9517. She said people requesting replacement applications should say they were selected from the OHP-Standard reservation list so they are given the correct application; applications for OHP-Standard submitted on other state medical forms will not be honored.


OHP-Standard covers physician visits, prescription drugs, mental health and chemical dependency services, emergency medical care and limited dental, hospital and vision benefits. Monthly premiums range from nothing to $20 per person depending on household size and income.


Read said the next 3,000 applications will be mailed in early May to people whose names are randomly drawn from the reservation list. Because the names of the 6,000 people who received applications in March and April have been made inactive, the number of names on the reservation list has been reduced to approximately 85,000 from whom the 3,000 names will be drawn for the May mailing.


OHP-Standard, which covers 17,850 of the people in the 398,000-person state Medicaid program, had been closed since July 2004. The program can support new enrollment because the number of people enrolled fell below the monthly average of 24,000 people for whom the budget will provide coverage. DHS expects to enroll 10,000 people during the next several months.


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