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Cover Oregon Board Votes To Move To Federal Exchange

OPB | April 24, 2014 11:37 a.m. | Updated: April 25, 2014 11:29 a.m.

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Updated 11:25:

Cover Oregon’s board voted unanimously Friday to drop the state’s online health exchange and link up with the federal website.

The vote makes Oregon the first state in the nation to take that action. Today’s vote follows yesterday’s recommendation from an advisory committee to ditch the troubled portal.

Under the change, Oregon will use HealthCare.Gov for private policies, but continue using the current system for Medicaid enrollments.

A top Cover Oregon official said fixing the existing system would be too costly at $78 million dollars, and would take too long. Switching to the federal system would cost between $4 million and $6 million.

Oregonians still cannot use Cover Oregon’s site to sign up for coverage in one sitting, despite $134 million the state paid Oracle Corporation to build it.


Updated 11:10 a.m. The Cover Oregon board has voted to dump the state’s website in favor of joining the federal exchange. More details to come.

At a meeting Thursday, the technology committee recommended the move saying it could cost another $78 million to fix the website’s problems, but signing up with the federal website would only cost about $5 million.


The technology committee of Cover Oregon has recommended ditching its website and signing up with the federal exchange.

Oregon got more than $300 million from the feds to set up a state-of-the-art website to enroll people in health insurance.

About $250 million has already been spent and Cover Oregon thinks it may cost another $78 million to fix the current website that has never been fully functional.

Signing up with the federal website is only about $5 million and the site is already working. But the change carries risks. For example, everybody might have to sign up again?

Clyde Hamstreet is Cover Oregon’s new temporary chief. He says November is when the enrollment window opens again, and the system must be working. The Cover Oregon board is expected to vote Friday on whether to switch to the federal website. “Let me say this, nobody has to re-enroll now.

What we have to do in November, we’ve got to work out yet,” he said.

A top Cover Oregon official, Alex Pettit, said Thursday that fixing the existing system would be too costly, would take too long, and would be too risky.

Oregon would continue using its current technology for Medicaid enrollments, but not for people who are buying private policies.

The recommendation comes more than six months after Oregon’s online site was supposed to go live.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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