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Salem, OR—The State of Oregon is now accepting applications for enrollment in a health insurance program for people who live in Oregon under the Compact of Free Association (COFA) agreement.

The COFA Premium Assistance Program provides affordable health insurance for low-income citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

Under the program, the state pays for enrollees' share of premiums for standard silver-level health insurance plans purchased through HealthCare.gov. The plans cover doctor visits, emergency care, preventive care (such as mammograms and screenings for blood pressure and diabetes), prescriptions, and much more. Enrollees do not pay any bills for accepted in-network services.

The program grew out of a law passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2016. It provides health insurance benefits to people from the three Pacific Island nations who have the right to live, study, and work in the U.S., but who previously lacked access to free health benefits. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 COFA islanders are eligible for the program in Oregon.

"Just like other Oregonians, low-income COFA islanders living in Oregon need access to free, high-quality care," said Berri Leslie, administrator for the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. "This program not only makes that happen but does so in a way that honors the unique relationship between the COFA islands, and Oregon and the U.S."

Eligible people may submit their applications until Jan. 31, 2017, the end of open enrollment. Applicants are encouraged to sign up by Dec. 15 to receive a full 12 months of coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. All partners and agents of Oregon's Health Insurance Marketplace are available to help with filling out applications. Free language translation services are available.

To reach the program:

* Email: COFA.Marketplace@oregon.gov
* Phone: 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free), Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Fax: 503-947-7092
* Mail: Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, P.O. Box 14480, Salem, OR 97309

The Marketplace also has a designated community partner for the program: the COFA Alliance National Network (CANN), which may be reached by email -- info@cann.us -- or phone, 971-249-CANN (2266).

For details about eligibility requirements, application steps, and important dates, as well as the full list of program-approved plans, go to: http://healthcare.oregon.gov/pages/COFA.aspx

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The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Contact Info:
Aaron Corvin
971-718-6973
aaron.corvin@oregon.gov

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