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DHS news release

May 5, 2008

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

3,000 more OHP-Standard applications to be mailed Wednesday

Another 3,000 applications for the Oregon Health Plan's Standard benefit package will go into the mail Wednesday to uninsured, low-income adults whose names were randomly drawn from the reservation list.

So far, more than 3,300 applications have been returned from the combined 6,000 applications that were mailed in March and April. As a result, Oregon Department of Human Services workers have found more than 1,000 Oregon adults eligible for medical coverage.

Although the deadline has passed for returning applications mailed in March, those mailed in April may be returned through May 23. Applications mailed this month must be returned by June 23.

"It is encouraging to see people qualifying for a benefit that so many Americans say is important to them," said Lynn Read, senior deputy administrator in the state Medicaid office in DHS. "Although OHP-Standard can meet only part of the demand for health care, the Oregon Health Fund Board is preparing recommendations to go to the Governor and legislative leaders in October."

The state estimates more than 135,000 uninsured, low-income adults would qualify for OHP-Standard, for which an applicant's average income must fall below the federal poverty level ($867 a month for an individual) over a three-month period to become eligible. The program's budget will support a monthly average of 24,000 people.

The 3,000 OHP-Standard applications being mailed Wednesday will go to residents of all 36 Oregon counties. That includes four applications being sent to residents of rural Wheeler County, the first names to be drawn from the 35 individuals in that county who placed their names on the reservation list.

OHP-Standard, which had been closed to new enrollment since June 2004, will continue to enroll eligible adults until the number covered reaches the number the budget can support. The program now covers more than 18,000 adults, part of the state's overall Medicaid program of 400,000-plus people.

Wednesday, the largest number of applications will be mailed to the most populous counties -- Multnomah (723 applications), Lane (335), Washington (221), Marion (209), Clackamas (208), Jackson (170), Douglas (134), Linn (96) and Deschutes (91).

OHP-Standard covers physician services, prescription drugs, mental health and chemical dependency services, emergency medical services and limited dental, hospital and vision services. Enrollees pay monthly premiums ranging from nothing to $20 per person, depending on household income and size.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Plan's Plus program is always open to low-income people who are aged, blind, disabled, pregnant, younger than 19 or people who qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. To request an application, call 1-800-359-9517.

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