Sherman County eNews #215

CONTENT

  1. Sherman County Photography Club, July 24

  2. North Central Education Service District Board Elects Officers, Welcomes New Member

  3. DCBS’ Final Rate Decisions for 2018 Health Plans

  4. Bend Heroes Foundation’s Honor Highways and Cities Fact Sheet

  5. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do


1. Sherman County Photography Club, July 24

camera.handheldThe Sherman County Photography Club will meet at 6pm, July 24 at the OSU Extension Building in Moro. Topics of discussion will include Sherman County Fair photography categories and photographing the upcoming Solar Eclipse. The club’s recent photo challenges of “5 Signs of Summer” and “Long Exposure/ Time Lapse Photography will be shared. Everyone is welcome to attend.


2. North Central Education Service District Board Elects Officers, Welcomes New Member

teacher5The North Central Education Service District (NCESD) board met in regular session on July 6, 2017, with all board members present, Amy Derby, Jim Doherty, Kristen Neuberger, Sarah Rucker, Jeff Schott, Greg Greenwood and, via phone, Geremy Shull, and Superintendent Penny Grotting and Business Manager Kim Domenighini.

New board member, William (Greg) Greenwood, was sworn in for the Sherman County position.

The unapproved minutes indicate that the board elected Sarah Rucker as chair and Geremy Shull as vice-chair. Lobbyist Rob Myers gave a report on the legislative session and a description of ESD funding sources. The fiscal report, collective bargaining agreement and minutes of June 22 were approved.

Superintendent Penny Grotting’s first day in the office was July 5th and she is scheduling meetings with superintendents in the NCESD district. She shared her schedule for the upcoming year.

Under new business the board approved routine designations for the 2017-2018 year: IDEA Fiscal Manager (Penny Grotting), Chief Administrative Officer (Penny Grotting), Authorization to Sign Checks/Custodian of Funds (Penny Grotting, Kim Domenighini, Dawn Lathrop), Budget Officer (Penny Grotting), Business Manager (Kim Domenighini), District Auditor (Accuity LLC, Certified Public Accountants, PC), Insurance Agent of Record (Wheatland Insurance Center), Official District Newspaper (The Times—Journal),and Depositories for District Funds (Bank of Eastern Oregon, Oregon State Treasury. They also set Borrowing Limit/Authorize Interfund Loans ($1,000,000 upon majority vote of Board), Government Crime Policy ($100,000 – covers all employees), and Meeting Dates/Times/Location (6-8 times yearly – 1st  Thursday – 6 pm). The next board meeting will be September 7, 2017 at 6 o’clock.


3. DCBS’ Final Rate Decisions for 2018 Health Plans

Oregon.Flat.poleSalem — Small businesses and individuals who buy their own health insurance can now see the final approved rates for 2018 health insurance plans. The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Financial Regulation must review and approve rates before they can be charged to policyholders.

These final decisions are the result of the division’s rigorous review process, which included public conference calls, public hearings, and public comment. The division published preliminary decisions before the hearings. These hearings provided an opportunity for the public, health insurance companies, and the division to further review and analyze the preliminary decisions.

The final decisions are primarily unchanged from the preliminary decisions, with the exception of Providence Health Plans individual rates, which increased by an additional 2.2 percent to a total increase of 10.8 percent. This final proposed increase is still significantly less than Providence’s original request for a 20.7 percent increase. This increase was due to clarifying information provided by Providence during the hearings that justified the change.

In the individual market, the division has issued final decisions for seven companies with average rate changes ranging from a 1.6 percent decrease to a 14.8 percent increase. Under the final decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $355 to $452 a month. These premiums are for plans before financial assistance through Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace is taken into account.

The rate changes are company-wide averages. Individuals may see different changes in 2018 depending on their specific plan choices.

“Although health insurance premiums will be increasing in 2018, for many Oregonians those increases will be offset by corresponding increases in financial help available through Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace,” said DCBS Director Patrick Allen. “Still, we know a large number of Oregonians who do not receive help will see increased costs. We are committed to continuing to work on reforms that make insurance affordable to more people.”

All Oregonians who purchase their own insurance, even those who do not receive financial help in 2017, are encouraged to apply for assistance through the Marketplace in 2018. They might be surprised by what they qualify for. In 2017, Oregonians who received help with the costs of their health insurance paid on average $147 a month.

In the small group market, the division has issued final decisions for nine companies with average rate increases ranging from 3.3 percent to 10.1 percent. Under the final decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $293 to $421 a month.

See the chart at dfr.oregon.gov/healthrates/Documents/2018-fnl-prpsd-rates.pdf for the full list of final decisions. While the decisions on the attached chart are final decisions, Moda Health Plan Inc. still has two pending rate requests that are undergoing review and are open for comment. These rates are for Lane and Tillamook counties. The company did not originally file rates for those counties, but reconsidered and filed rates to expand back into the counties.

Reasons for the rate changes include:
* The new Oregon Reinsurance Program. This program reduced individual market rates by 6 percent, and added a 1.5 percent increase to the small group market.
* Federal weakening of the individual mandate enforcement. This increased rates by 2.4 percent and 5.1 percent.
* Medical costs continue to rise, driven by increased use and the cost of new specialized prescription drugs.
* The cost of providing care continues to surpass premiums collected for many carriers.

In 2018, most counties will have at least two carriers both on and off the Marketplace and at least one carrier exclusively off the Marketplace. Two counties, Douglas and Lincoln, have only one carrier on and off the Marketplace and one carrier off the Marketplace.

“We remain concerned about the limited health plan choices some counties are facing, and will work with insurance companies throughout the next year to try to increase competition throughout the state in 2019,” said Allen. “An important first step taken by the state is the creation of the Oregon Reinsurance Program. Without this program, we would be seeing counties with no Marketplace plans, and much larger rate increases for those who purchase insurance on their own in 2018.”

Developed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and stakeholders, and recently approved by the Legislature, the Oregon Reinsurance Program is designed to stabilize the individual market, reduce rates, and encourage insurance companies to offer plans in more parts of the state. Reinsurance spreads the risk of high-cost claims so that no one carrier takes on a disproportionate share of this risk. The program is partially funded by a portion of a new 1.5 percent assessment on all commercial insurance plans.

Final rates, a summary of the state of the individual market, and the final decision information for each carrier can be found at www.oregonhealthrates.org. Statewide premium comparison tables for ages 21, 40, and 60 will be posted online in August.


4. Bend Heroes Foundation’s Honor Highways and Cities Fact Sheet

American flag2On July 14, 2016, the nonprofit Bend Heroes Foundation requested the Oregon legislature to honor Oregon’s 26 Medal of Honor recipients with a border to border “Oregon Medal of Honor Highway” on US Highway 20 and 12 cities designated as “Medal of Honor City/Community”. The honors would be accomplished by signs installed by Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) along the 451 mile US 20 highway between Newport, OR and the OR/ID border near Nyssa, OR. Bend Heroes Foundation would install markers at each Medal of Honor City or Community. This project will be funded by donations to Bend Heroes Foundation.   

Bend Heroes Foundation drafted and requested the legislation which became House Bill 2100 (Oregon Medal of Honor Highway) and House Concurrent Resolution 1 (Medal of Honor Community/City). Chief Sponsors of the legislation are Representative John Huffman, Senator Tim Knopp, Representative Gene Whisnant, and Representative Mike McLane. Both measures were passed by unanimous vote by the Oregon House and Senate on June 5 and May 31 respectively. Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2100 into law on June 20. The new law will become effective on October 10.

The Medal of Honor Highway and City/Community signage project honors 26 recipients connected with Oregon (home of record, residence after receiving the Medal of Honor or burial) and who received the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for military valor during combat in 8 wars in 10 countries over 108 years from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. The legislation includes honoring future Medal of Honor recipients connected with Oregon.

To earn the Medal of Honor the recipient had to act with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during combat at the risk of his or her life while saving others. More than half of the nation’s recipients from WWI to the present lost their lives during their act of unselfish heroism.

This project complements the “Oregon Medal of Honor Exhibit” created by the Foundation at Evergreen Air & Space Museum in McMinnville and the 5 veterans’ memorial highways signs project across Oregon also managed by Bend Heroes Foundation.

The 451 mile “Oregon Medal of Honor Highway” on US Highway 20 begins at Newport, Oregon, crosses 6 counties and ends at the Oregon/Idaho border at Nyssa, Oregon (attached map). We believe the “Oregon Medal of Honor Highway” and the “Medal of Honor City/Community” project is another first of a kind honor to veterans in our nation.

At 3,365 miles in length, US Highway 20 is the longest highway in our nation – begins in Newport, OR crosses 12 states and ends in Boston, MA. Fifty seven (57) percent of all 3,498 Medal of Honor awards since 1863 (154 years ago) are accredited to those 12 states. At least 12 states have created Medal of Honor highways, bridges etc. named for individual recipients. None honor all of a state’s recipients or are border to border in length. It is hoped that Oregon’s initiative will result in more Medal of Honor Highways and Cities in other states.

The 12 Medal of Honor Cities are: Agness, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Hood River, Jordan Valley, Medford, Oakridge, Portland, Richland, Salem and The Dalles. All are incorporated except Agness (Community). Attached is a list of the 26 Oregon Medal of Honor recipients, their military service, wars and cities.

At 96, WWII Army Medal of Honor recipient Mr. Robert D. “Bob” Maxwell of Bend is the “most senior” of the 71 (4 WWII and 67 post WWII) Medal of Honor recipients of all wars living in our nation today. Bob is a Director of Bend Heroes Foundation and treasured advisor for this unique project.

Prominent “Oregon Medal of Honor Highway” highway signs will be funded by Bend Heroes Foundation and installed by ODOT along US 20.  Memorial markers will also be funded by the Foundation and installed by ODOT at  selected rest areas and turnouts along US 20 displaying the 3 Medal of Honor medals (Army, Navy/Marines/Coast Guard and Air Force), criteria for receiving the Medal of Honor award, names of all 26 recipients and their wars.  A quick response (QR) code on the ADA accessible markers will allow viewers to download more detailed information from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society web site.

The Medal of Honor City/Community marker program will be managed by the Foundation. A permanent marker at each city/community will include the name of the city, name of the recipient, image of the recipient’s Medal of Honor medal, citation, name of war, and years of that war, dedication date and QR code for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  

Bend Heroes Foundation raised $70,200 to pay ODOT to fabricate and install 67 signs on 5 border to border veterans’ memorial highways on US 395 (WWI), US 97 (WWII), I-5 (Korea, Purple Heart Trail), I-84 (Vietnam) and US 101 (Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq). The Foundation initiated that project with the Legislature to honor nearly one half million Oregon veterans who served, 6,022 who died and 15,000 who were wounded during 5 major wars over the last 100 years from WWI to the present.

The Foundation has enjoyed an outstanding relationship with ODOT HQ, Regions and District staff over the last 9 years and is grateful that relationship will continue onward. We also thank the Oregon Legislature for eagerly supporting legislation over the last 9 years honoring Oregon’s half million war veterans with extensive highways across Oregon.

The Foundation plans to raise another $30,000 to fund the new Oregon Medal of Honor Highway and Medal of Honor City/Community project. Donations are tax deductible and can be made at www.bendheroes.org or by mail: 1900 NE 3rd St., Ste 106, #205, Bend, OR 97701.

Someone must speak for these 26 “Bravest of the Brave” heroes and that high honor and privilege has fallen to all of us.  Contact: Dick Tobiason, Chairman, Bend Heroes Foundation and Project Manager: dtobiason@bendcable.com, 541.390.9932 Web site: www.Bendheroes.org, 1900 NE 3rd St., Ste 106 #205, Bend, OR 97701. Bend Heroes Foundation is a 501 c3 nonprofit entity (Tax ID 27-2071808). Donations are tax deductible.


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