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In just a few weeks, Oregon’s new health insurance marketplace, Cover Oregon, will be open for business. Cover Oregon will give Oregonians a new way to shop for health care, with tools to help consumers find the plan that’s right for them and financial help available so that paying for coverage doesn’t break the bank. All plans will have comprehensive coverage, and no-one will be turned away due to a pre-existing condition.

Any new program this large can be confusing for people at first, and scam artists and unscrupulous business ventures may try to take advantage of that confusion to rip off consumers.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, be sure to check out these top tips for protecting yourself from fraud, just released by the Oregon Department of Justice, the Oregon Insurance Division and Cover Oregon:

  • Do not pay for help. There is no charge to use Cover Oregon services, so no-one should be charging you to use the marketplace.
  • Make sure anyone who assists you is certified by Cover Oregon. Cover Oregon has certified insurance agents and community partners to help with enrollment – and there is no charge for their services.
  • Protect health care and financial information. Cover Oregon will never visit or call people unannounced to ask for their Social Security number, credit card, or personal health information. Consumers should not share personal information with anyone they do not know even if they only ask you to confirm your information.
  • Cover Oregon does not offer Medicare, and has no impact on the program. Consumers should not share their Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts them uninvited. For questions, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
  • Oregonians who purchase insurance through Cover Oregon may qualify for tax credits to help cut the cost. These tax credits are ONLY available through Cover Oregon.

For more information about Cover Oregon, check their website www.coveroregon.com or call their help line: 1-855-268-3767. Report any suspected fraud to the Oregon Department of Justice online at http://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer/Pages/index.aspx or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.

Here at OSPIRG, we’re excited about Cover Oregon’s potential to make health care work better for consumers. We’ve already seen how competition on the new marketplace can help bring down premium costs, and we expect more progress in this area as Cover Oregon begins to leverage the buying power of hundreds of thousands of Oregonians to get a better deal on coverage.

But be careful to follow these tips to make sure that what you’re getting is the real deal.

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