Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

With their children finally insured, it's time to cover Mom and Dad

Oregon's new Health Insurance Exchange law gives hope to the Moultons

Rebecca Moulton will be able to secure affordable health coverage in 2014 through Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange.

On Tuesday, June 7, Oregon lawmakers passed legislation to create an Oregon Health Insurance Exchange. The exchange will create an Oregon-based central marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to have access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Rebecca and Steven Moulton found insurance coverage for their six children through Oregon's Healthy Kids program. Now, through the state's newly approved Health Insurance Exchange, they'll be able to secure affordable health coverage for themselves.

Like many Oregon families, the Moultons have not been able to find affordable health insurance through an employer or in the private market. Steven Moulton works as a warehouse manager. His employer used to offer health insurance, but can no longer afford to offer health insurance to its staff as an employee benefit.

Oregon's Exchange will be locally run and will have to meet high standards for quality, affordability and transparency. Insurance companies will be held accountable for the products offered. In 2014, access to affordable health care will now be a reality for the Moultons and more than 350,000 Oregonians through Oregon's Exchange.

Additionally, Oregon's Exchange will give Oregon families and small businesses access to federal tax credits and subsidies that will make insurance more affordable. Families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level โ€” $88,900 for a family of four โ€” will qualify for some level of assistance. The Moultons' children range in age from 5 to 17, and their income will allow them to qualify for subsidies by purchasing insurance through Oregon's Exchange โ€” making health insurance affordable and within reach.

The Moultons, both in their 40s, live in Salem. With six children to care for, they cannot risk getting sick and being unable to afford the care they need. That's why Oregon's planned Health Insurance Exchange gives them hope.

"I knew it was important for my kids to have insurance," Rebecca Moulton says. "It's also important for kids to have their parents."

When Moulton had to undergo a hysterectomy in March, she could not afford the estimated hospital charge of nearly $20,000. Even for an out-of-hospital operation in a private surgicenter, the doctors demanded upfront payment of more than $10,000. She paid that only after her church raised the money through private donations.