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Federal Government Approves Health Insurance Waiver For Oregon


The federal government has approved a key waiver that will allow Oregon to proceed with a planned “reinsurance program.” It’s designed to blunt the cost of health insurance plans purchased on the individual market.

The waiver was granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and was announced by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services on Thursday.

According to DCBS, the reinsurance program “spreads the risk of high-cost claims so that all insurance companies take an equal share of the risk of expensive claims.”

It was included in a sweeping health care bill narrowly approved by Oregon lawmakers in June. Portions of that bill go before voters in January as Measure 101, but the reinsurance program is not part of that referendum.

“The Oregon reinsurance program will provide much needed stability to Oregonians who purchase insurance on their own,” said acting DCBS Director Jean Straight. “Without this program, we might be seeing counties with no plans offered through Oregon’s health insurance marketplace.”

Straight also said without the program, Oregonians who buy insurance on their own would see “much larger rate increases” in 2018.

The federal waiver is a provision of the Affordable Care Act. It comes with approximately $30 million in federal funding, according to DCBS.

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