Can You Trust The Health Exchange's Rankings?

OPB | Oct. 24, 2013 2:41 p.m. | Portland

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Oregon’s new health exchange ranks insurance companies with stars. But insurance companies are involved with that ranking system.

Portland entreprenuer Justin Epperly is troubled that the organization that ranks insurance companies for Cover Oregon, recieves money from insurance companies and has insurance company representatives on its board.

Portland entreprenuer Justin Epperly is troubled that the organization that ranks insurance companies for Cover Oregon, recieves money from insurance companies and has insurance company representatives on its board.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

If you go to Cover Oregon and plug in your details, you’ll be given a list of providers. But unlike in many states, you’ll also see a ranking system.

Four stars — good. One star — not so good. But if you click on those stars, you won’t see details.

A representative from Cover Oregon says the exchange is working on that, but the Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation or Q-Corp put the ranking together.

Portland entrepreneur Justin Epperly is looking for insurance and believes there’s a conflict of interest.

“The people that are rating the insurance company quality, are the insurance companies,” Epperly says.

Q-Corp chief Mylia Christensen says about a third of their money comes from insurance companies, but that they don’t have undue influence because other experts are also involved: like doctors, consumers and hospital administrators.

The consumer group, OSPIRG, says there’s good reason to believe Q-Corp is delivering good quality and independent data.

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