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DHS news release

June 2, 2008

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

3,000 more Oregon Health Plan applications to be mailed Friday; 1,846 adults found eligible for medical coverage so far

A fourth group of 3,000 applications for the Oregon Health Plan's Standard benefit package will be mailed Friday to adults whose names were randomly drawn from the reservation list.

Friday's mailing will bring to 12,000 the number of applications mailed since March to give uninsured, low-income adults a chance to apply for Oregon Health Plan coverage.

"So far, 1,846 people who have applied have been found eligible for publicly financed health care coverage," said Lynn Read, senior deputy administrator in the state Medicaid office of the Oregon Department of Human Services. "We will continue to enroll people until we reach the number the budget will support."

The budget for OHP-Standard, closed to new enrollments since mid-2004, will support a monthly average of 24,000 adults during the two-year budget period that ends June 30, 2009. It now enrolls more than 19,000.

Three thousand applications will be mailed Friday to residents of every Oregon county except rural Gilliam, whose residents received a total of six applications in prior months. Counties whose residents will receive the largest numbers of applications are Multnomah (757), Lane (338), Marion (237), Washington (230), Clackamas (168), Jackson (152), Douglas (127), Linn (109), Deschutes (100) and Josephine (91).

The deadline for returning applications that will be mailed Friday will be July 24, while the deadline to return applications mailed May 7 is June 23. Deadlines have passed for applications mailed in March and April. People may obtain assistance with completing applications by calling 1-800-699-9075 or, for people with hearing impairments, 1-503-378-7800.

For Friday's mailing, adults ages 45 to 54 are the age group who will receive the largest share of applications, or 24 percent of the total, followed by adults 35-44 and 25-34 receiving nearly 23 percent each. Adults ages 19-24 and 55-64 each are receiving approximately 14 percent of the total. The percentages are in line with the numbers of people in each age group who put their names on the OHP-Standard reservation list in January and February for a chance to have their names randomly drawn to receive an application.

OHP-Standard, a program for adults who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage, pays for physician services, prescription drugs, mental health and chemical dependency services, emergency medical treatment, and limited dental, hospital and vision coverage. To be eligible, an individual adult's average income must be below the federal poverty level, or an average of $867 during a three-month period.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Health Plan's Plus benefit package is always open for low-income people who are aged, blind, disabled, pregnant, younger than 19 or who qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Applications for OHP-Plus are available by calling 1-800-359-9517 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Pacific time.

To expand health coverage to more Oregonians, Governor Ted Kulongoski last year named a seven-member board to make recommendations to be considered by the 2009 Oregon Legislature, which convenes Jan. 12. The panel, known as the Oregon Health Fund Board, has begun receiving committee reports and is meeting monthly to review them before making final recommendations to the Governor and legislative leaders this fall.

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