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How to avoid long wait times for medical, food, cash, child care benefits
The World - 11/17/2023
Nov. 16—With the end of the COVID-19 federal public health emergency, the state is required to review eligibility for all 1.5 million Oregonians who have Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and other Medicaid benefits.
These medical renewals combined with the unprecedented levels of people applying for and receiving medical, food, cash, and child care benefits, have led to a historically high number of callers to the ONE Customer Service Center and is impacting call wait times.
The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) is encouraging people in Oregon to use new alternate contact options given high call wait times at the ONE Customer Service Center. The ONE Customer Service Center provides phone support to people in Oregon calling to apply for or get help with their medical, food, cash, and child care benefits.
ODHS anticipates that wait times will remain high during open enrollment season for Medicare and the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. While people can apply for OHP any time of year, both open enrollment events increase awareness of and interest in applying for OHP.
"We know that many people in Oregon depend on us when they have questions about their medical, food, cash and child care benefits," said Nathan Singer director of the Oregon Eligibility Partnership at ODHS which manages the ONE Customer Service Center. "We are doing everything we can to provide the best customer service possible on our phones and in our offices. We encourage people to create or use their ONE Online account, the Oregon ONE Mobile app or online chat bot when possible."
OHP members are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible after they receive a request for information to avoid any possible delays. The fastest way members can provide an update is by going to benefits.oregon.gov and creating or logging into their ONE Online account. People can also create an ONE Online account and upload documents through the Oregon ONE Mobile app.
The ONE Customer Service Center can be reached by phone at 1-800-699-9075, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call wait times are lowest in the morning between 7 and 8 a.m., especially on Tuesday mornings.
People are welcome to visit or call their local ODHS office with questions, find an office near you here.
The Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon is also available to provide support at 1-855-673-2372 or in-person, find a local office at www.adrcoforegon.org.
There are many otherways people can get support and information about their medical, food, cash, and child care benefits:
* Online at: benefits.oregon.gov
* Through the free Oregon ONE Mobile app available on Apple and Android app stores
* Visiting or calling an office near you: Find an office.
* Older adults and people with disabilities can get help through Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or www.adrcoforegon.org.
* In your language: Help in Your Language
* By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
* By fax at: 503-378-5628
People also can seek free help with their medical benefits from a community partner. Find a community partner near you.
ODHS is committed to providing the best customer service and doing everything it can to support people who need help with their benefits in as timely way as possible, including:
Creating an incident management team that is committed to ensuring we provide the best customer service possible by:
Making as many staff as possible available to support people in Oregon who are contacting the ONE Customer Service Center for help with their benefits.
Prioritizing any agency work like hiring, budget, training, or data analysis, that supports the ONE Customer Service Center.
Ensuring workers have the best and latest information they need to support people contacting the ONE Customer Service Center.
Bringing ODHS leaders together to problem solve and create short-, medium- and long-term solutions to meet our customer service goals.
* Launching Oregon ONE Mobile, an app in English and Spanish that allows people to manage benefits, respond to inquiries and get notifications. This free app is available on Apple and Android app stores.
* Adding a call back option to the ONE Customer Service Center, for some types of calls, so people don't have to stay on hold when wait times are long.
* Sending text message reminders for critical matters such as appointments and key deadlines. People are now 1.25 times more likely to attend appointments and 1.7 times more likely to renew their cases on time since this was put in place.
* Adding a chat bot service assistant for people applying for or managing their benefits online.
* Emailing and texting people whose mail was returned to ask them to update their addresses so they can get important information about their benefits.
* Redesigning and adding a Spanish version of the benefits.oregon.gov website where people go to find information about applying for and managing their benefits.
* Adding 200 contracted staff to temporarily increase capacity in the ONE Customer Service Center.
* Making renewal notices easier to understand.
ODHS officials said they are committed to transparency. Dashboards with the latest wait times, customer service scores and medical renewal information are available online here.
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