Enroll in healthcare coverage, then get ready to vote in January

Measure 101 stabilizes premiums and saves people who buy their own coverage an average of $300 per year

If you buy your own healthcare coverage, the Yes for Healthcare campaign has an important message for you:

  1. Make sure you sign up for coverage during the open enrollment period that runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
  2. Mark your calendars to vote YES on Measure 101 in the January 23, 2018 special election to stabilize Oregon’s health insurance market and maintain Measure 101’s $300 a year premium savings.

It’s no secret that costs keep increasing for people who buy their own coverage. Earlier this year there was also a risk that some health plans might pull out of Oregon’s rural communities altogether because of volatility in the market.

The good news is that Measure 101 is already bringing stability to the insurance market and is reducing premiums, through the reinsurance program that it funds. That means most Oregon counties have access to at least two health plans, and every county has at least one. In addition, the 2018 annual rates are $300 lower per person than they would have been otherwise, according to Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services.

“I am voting yes on Measure 101 in January because I cannot afford to pay higher premiums,” says restaurant owner Elizabeth Petrosian, who purchases insurance for herself and her husband. “Measure 101 stabilizes premiums for people like me, makes sure everyone has access to health care, and lowers costs.”

Measure 101’s assessments on health insurance companies supports the state reinsurance program that helps cover the cost of caring for the sickest people, which stabilizes the insurance market. If Measure 101 doesn’t pass in January, funding for this program will be slashed.

That is just one reason Measure 101 now has the support of more than 75 organizations,  including the AARP-Oregon, the Oregon Medical Association, the Oregon Nurses Association, the Oregon Association of Hospital and Health Systems, local healthcare providers across Oregon, as well as patient and consumer groups.

“When people don’t have health care coverage, they put off doctor visits and have to turn to emergency rooms for care, which drives costs up for all of us,” says La Grande nurse Cheryl Cosgrove, who works in an intensive care unit. “Measure 101 means that working families have access to healthcare coverage and can get the services they need.”

To share your healthcare story and join the Yes for Healthcare campaign, go to www.YesforHealthcare.org.

BACKGROUND:

The premium assessments on health insurance companies from Measure 101 leverage $30 million in federal matching dollars to fund the state’s reinsurance program. Oregon received approval from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services earlier this month.

According to the Oregonian, the reinsurance program “spreads the risk of high cost claims so no carrier bears a disproportionate share. The program reduced rates in the individual market by 6 percent.”

The premium assessments for the reinsurance program were passed by the legislature in HB 2391 and are now on the ballot as Measure 101 in January’s special election.