Innovative Changes
 The Health Issue: CoverOregon, Free Health Clinics and More!
November 2013

Welcome to the new format of our Innovative Connections. We hope this new design will enhance your monthly reading experience!

If you've followed the news in the last few months, you've likely heard about the  troubles and successes of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes known as "Obamacare" or ACA). We know keeping track of what the ACA means for you and your family can be hard work--not to mention confusing. So read on for introductions to the following topics:

  • The Affordable Care Act
  • Cover Oregon (Oregon's health insurance exchange)
  • The Oregon Health Plan Expansion and Enrollment 


Plus, we've included information on upcoming free medical clinics in November and December. 


All the best,


Innovative Changes

Upcoming Workshops

Our next Financial Household Resiliency workshops will go for 4 Tuesdays in a row starting:



Cover Oregon: How to Apply  

Are you uninsured? Or do you purchase your own insurance? Unless you received a Fast Track invitation to enroll in the Oregon Health Plan (Oregon's Medicaid program), you need to apply for a health plan under Cover Oregon to avoid tax penalties in 2014.


Cover Oregon is Oregon's health insurance exchange. It's where you can shop for health insurance plans and access tax credits you may qualify for to help offset the cost of insurance. While Cover Oregon only accepts online applications from those using Internet Explorer, they are accepting paper applications. After you submit an application, Cover Oregon will send you your options, and you can pick the plan that is right for you. The tax credits are sent straight to the company you choose, lowering the amount you pay. If you qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) but weren't included in the Fast Track, you will be enrolled in that at no cost.


In order to become enrolled by January 2014, you must get your application in before December 15. If you want to fill out the paperwork and submit it yourself, you can access the application at


Keep reading here.

Upcoming Free Medical Clinics

In November and December, a few free and low-cost medical clinics are available in the Portland metro area. Upcoming events include:


For Free Dental Care:

Mission of Mercy IV

Monday and Tuesday, November 25 and 26, 6am-6 pm, Doors open at 4 am

Location: Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd


Medical Teams International 

Medical Teams don't provide routine cleanings, crowns, dentures, bridge work, or root canals, but are a great resource if you don't have access to dental care.


Thursday, December 13

Location: All Saints Church, 4033 SE Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, OR 97202
Appointments: Call the church at 503-777-3829 at 9 am on Tuesday, December 11.


Sunday, December 16, 10 am-3 pm
Location: Under the west side of the Hawthorne Bridge 

Appointments: Patients will be selected based on priority, as well as on a first-come, first-served basis.


Thursday, December 20Begins at 8 am
Location: St. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, 8147 SE Pine Street, Portland, OR 97215 

Appointments: Sign-ups are the day of the clinic on a first-come, first-served basis.



If the resources above aren't what you were looking for, check out Coalition of Community Health Clinics, a nonprofit network of clinics in the Portland metro area, that offers a variety of useful health resources and information. Visit their site at to:

  • Search their database of free clinics
  • Find free or low-cost dental, vision, and mental health services
  • Read about health insurance information
  • Learn about resources for LGBTQ and people of color
By Katie Dineen
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!

The Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know  

Below, we've pulled together some quick facts on the Affordable Care Act. For more details, you can visit Cover Oregon's website,, or read the AARP's coverage  


Who qualifies?

  • Young adults under the age of 26 can remain on their parent's healthcare plan.
  • Insurance companies can no longer deny anyone health coverage because of a preexisting condition.
  • Medicaid has been expanded to serve more people living on a limited income. For example, now as an individual you can qualify if you earn $15,900 or less or year, $32,500 for a family of four


When does everything start?

  • Coverage through the health insurance marketplace will begin on January 1, 2014.
  • Health insurance marketplace enrollment was scheduled to begin October 1, 2013. In Oregon, the insurance marketplace is known as Cover Oregon. While there are still limits to applying online, paper applications are available. Visit to browse coverage plans and learn more about what Cover Oregon offers.

Keep reading here.

Oregon Health Plan Expansion: Get on the Fast Track!

Did you receive a form in the mail from the Department of Human Services about enrolling in the "Fast Track" for the Oregon Health Plan? This means your household's income level makes you eligible for being enrolled in the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.


The Oregon Health Plan is Oregon's Medicaid program, which seeks to provide health coverage for those who cannot afford insurance. Its expansion significantly increases the number of people who can enroll and expands the number of services offered. Mailing your fast-track enrollment form by December 15 means you will have coverage starting on January 1.


Did you lose your fast-track enrollment form? What if you are eligible but never received your fast-track enrollment form? You can call about the Oregon Health Plan at 1-800-699-9075, and if you were fast-track pre-approved, you can enroll over the phone. If you are not eligible for the Oregon Health Plan, you may be eligible for tax credits to help lower the cost of buying a plan through Cover Oregon. If you are not sure what you are qualified for, you can call Cover Oregon at 1-855-268-3767.


Keep reading here. 

Want to Make a Difference in Your Community?Become an Innovative Changes Financial Coach!

Volunteer financial coaches work one on one with people in their community to help them build financial skills and achieve life-long goals.  

As a coach you will:

  •  Attend a day-long coaching training
  •  Commit to meeting with your coachee at least once a month for 6 months
  •  Set financial goals with your coachees  and support and hold them accountable to achieving their goals

Innovative Changes is committed to supporting our coaches. We will provide:\

  •  Professional training
  • -Resources and ongoing support
  • Convening of coach meet-ups

Our next coach training will be Saturday, January 25th from 9am-4pm. If you're interested in becoming a coach, contact Katie at 503-249-5205 or katie@innovativechanges. 

For Our Borrowers


Are You Receiving Your Payment Reminders? 

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Misha at

See all the options on how to make your loan payment here.

Remember, We Are Here to Help!  


Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. We are flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication.