When the day turns to nightfall, a few hours away from where you live, you may be able to avoid getting sick in your home state.
The Oregon Health Plan will be charging Oregonians to keep their plans active in the event that the sun does not shine.
The decision comes amid a state-wide emergency, and as insurers scramble to cover an anticipated surge in insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The state’s exchange, the Oregon Health Connector, is still not functioning as promised, and the Oregon Public Health Commission says it has yet to release any plans.
But the move, which was first reported by The Oregonian, means that consumers who rely on the state-run exchange to get the bare essentials such as prescriptions or emergency medical services will be paying for services they will not need to get to the doctor or hospital.
In a statement, Oregon Health Secretary Rebecca Moulton said the decision to charge Oregonians was “not a new one,” and that the exchange would continue to operate in its current form until it was fully operational.
The plan, which is currently being expanded in Oregon, allows Oregonians with medical conditions, such as cancer, to buy coverage through the state’s insurance marketplace, and for those who have insurance from other states to buy it through the federal marketplace.
Consumers can opt to have their plans charge them a surcharge based on their income, health status, and other factors, but it does not cover services or devices that might be essential to their health.
The program is one of many health plans in the U.S. that offer free, non-invasive tests, treatments, and wellness activities that are only available to people with a medical condition.
But Moulthorne’s decision to implement the charge is noteworthy, because it’s the first time that insurers have charged Oregon residents to keep the plans active.
That includes some of the most popular health plans offered by major insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, Anthem Blue Cross, Humana, and Cigna.
Moultons statement didn’t specify what kind of tests or other wellness activities will be included in the charge, but the Oregon Department of Insurance has said that any “services and devices” are not covered under the program.
Moultons statement said that the health plan has been working with Oregon health officials, and that there will be a public meeting next week to discuss the issue.
“We are committed to improving Oregon’s health care system to keep people healthy, so we have a long-term plan for what we will do,” Moulson said in a statement.
The health plan’s move comes at a time when insurers are ramping up coverage for people who have had medical problems.
In the first quarter of this year, Blue Cross said it had added more than 5.7 million individuals to its health plans, an increase of more than 30% over the same period last year.
Blue Cross plans cover most of the state.
For the past few years, Oregon has been hit hard by the federal Affordable Care Plan, the law that gave people who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level access to health care.
Many of those people will be eligible for tax credits that allow them to purchase coverage through insurance plans that are available through the Oregon exchange.
The changes by insurers come as the state struggles to keep pace with an expected surge in the number of new claims, and to determine how to pay for coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
In April, the state announced that it would extend an $11.7 billion fund to cover the costs of medical bills incurred from October 1, 2019, to April 1, 2020, which will continue until June 30, 2021.
It is not clear how much the state would need to cover that amount of claims.
Maintaining that fund is a top priority for health officials in Oregon.
“The Affordable Care act was supposed to make sure that people who can’t afford health insurance are covered,” said Chris Sorenson, a policy analyst at the state health department.
“There’s going to be a lot of pressure for the state to get more coverage and to pay more for it.”
The Oregon Public Safety Commission, which oversees the state exchange, said that in 2018, it spent $1.8 billion on health care and that $3.5 billion of that was spent on Medicaid, the federal program for low-income people and families.
Mott said in her statement that the Oregon health department will provide updates on the status of the Oregon Affordable Care Program as it comes in to affect Oregon residents.
The commission will be holding a meeting on Thursday at 1 p.m.
EST to discuss what changes are required to ensure Oregon remains a place where all people can get access to essential health services, she said.