PNS Daily Newscast - July 3, 2020 

Economists say coronavirus disaster declarations may be the quickest path to reopening; militia groups use virus, Independence Day to recruit followers.

2020Talks - July 3, 2020 

Trump visits South Dakota's Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore today; nearby tribal leaders object, citing concerns over COVID-19 and a fireworks display. Plus, voter registration numbers are down from this time in 2016.

Report: Some Find OR Health Insurance Harder to Get

June 12, 2008

Portland, OR – Oregon could do a better job of protecting people who buy their own health insurance. That's the conclusion of a new report from Families U.S.A. The group surveyed every state's rules for how insurance companies deal with individual policyholders. In Oregon, the companies don't have to cover everyone who applies, and can refuse to cover pre-existing conditions for more than a year.

JoAnn Bowman, who heads the group Oregon Action, says there is some consumer protection, but in her view not enough.

"We're right in line with –- and I'm sure we don't see ourselves there –- states like Alabama, Arizona and Alaska. Oregon is actually in the pack at the bottom, where we really aren't protecting consumers' access to insurance coverage."

Bowman believes many of the 246,000 individual policyholders in Oregon are settling for any coverage just to have some, even if it's not sufficient for their needs. She hopes the Oregon Health Fund Board will consider the report as it makes recommendations for revamping the state's health care system.

The state Insurance Division estimates that 27 percent of individuals who apply for health coverage are turned down for health-related reasons. Bowman says complaints about availability and cost are what she hears most often.

"What we've found over the last year is that we really are all in this together. Small businesses are facing the exact same crises that individuals face, when the choice is between feeding your family or providing health coverage."

The Oregon insurance law was changed this year to cover more small employers (those with less than 50 workers instead of less than 25). Some states require insurance companies to spend at least 75 percent of the premiums they collect on health care, but Oregon does not.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR