Halloween Night Not Too Scary; Union Contract Approved; Open Enrollment

Quiet Trick or Treat

A couple instances of disorderly conduct, loud noise complaints and a possible drunk driver was all that was reported to Florence Police yesterday, but it was an otherwise quiet and safe evening for the youth of Florence.  Hundreds of children in costume and their parents took to the streets in old town to take advantage of the trick or treating by Bay Street businesses.  Several individuals passing out candy said that it was one of the biggest crowds that they had seen.  The Bridgewater Restaurant on the corner of Bay Street and Laurel closed their doors for the day to redecorate their dining room as a haunted house.  And offered it free of charge.  The weather also cooperated with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s.

Commissioners Approve Union Contract

County commissioners last night approved the contract with the union for county employees.  In a 4 to zero vote the three year contract was instated and is retroactive from July 1st of this year and runs through June 2020.  Commissioner Pat Farr abstained from the vote.  Farr’s son is a county employee represented by the union.  The most notable contract item was a wage increase for the lower tier employees in the unions general and nurses units.  The contract also allows for county employees to negotiate pay raises during the length of the contract.  County employees will also have to begin contributing to their health insurance plans, but that deduction has been put off for six months.

Open Enrollment Begins Today

Continuing with the theme of health insurance, The open-enrollment period to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace begins today (Wednesday). Folks in Oregon can go to healthcare.gov to find a plan. Lennae Wright is with Coast Community Healthy Center in Bandon. Health centers like hers around the state help people find the plan that works best for them and at the right price. But with talk in Congress of repealing the Affordable Care Act, Wright says there has been a lot of confusion heading into open enrollment.

201:  “One of the primary concerns that I have heard is that there won’t be any plan in 2018 and that is, of course, not correct. There are plans offered through the federal marketplace.”

Open enrollment was cut from three months to 45 days this year, and ends December 15th. The federal government has cut the marketing budget for insurance exchanges and also the budget for navigators – individuals who help people find plans. The Trump administration has decided to end cost-sharing payments to insurance companies, but state officials say that won’t affect premiums for Oregonians.

Wright recommends everybody get health insurance, even if it’s catastrophic coverage with low monthly premiums and high deductibles.

 202:  “In the event of any kind of an emergency, you’re going to be covered and you won’t be putting yourself at risk for any kind of financial strain or burden on you or your family or your loved ones.”

Wright encourages people to get better coverage so that they can have preventative-care checkups. More than 210-thousand Oregonians receive their health care coverage through the insurance marketplace.