Oregon Gets Several New Consumer Protection Laws

Jan 3, 2018
Originally published on January 3, 2018 1:56 pm

Oregon’s rolling out several financial protection laws this year.

One of the rules covers "balance billing," which is when a hospital charges an in-network patient out-of-network prices. Those prices can be very expensive and patients usually don’t know about them until they get a big bill.

But starting March 1, House Bill 2339 bans health care providers from billing consumers for amounts above what health insurance pays.

Other laws stop the financial abuse of older people. Mark Peterson with the Oregon Consumer Department said investment advisers can now delay financial changes if they’re suspicious.

“Securities professionals are in a unique position to see indications of financial abuse, such as large withdrawals or a request to transfer a securities portfolio to another person,” he said.

The state estimates 1 in 5 senior citizens is a victim of fraud.

Senate Bill 96 requires securities professionals to carry at least $1 million in insurance to cover losses due to bad acts.

Oregon is also expanding worker protections. House Bill 2338 allows children of someone who died on the job to get benefits if they’re in post-secondary education. Senate Bill 93 increases the Workers' Memorial Scholarship account, which awards scholarships to dependents or spouses of workers killed or permanently disabled on the job.

House Bill 2337 raises the minimum and maximum benefit for workers receiving a permanent total disability award. The minimum went from $50 or 90 percent of the worker's weekly wage to 33 percent of the state average weekly wage. The maximum is now 133 percent of the state average weekly wage.

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