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Oregon Expands Health Insurance Options

Oregonians who don’t already get health insurance at work can start to enroll in the state’s new insurance exchange on Tuesday.

The president’s hallmark legislation, The Affordable Care Act, means people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be turned away by insurers. And individuals who make $46,000-a-year or less are likely to qualify for a tax credit.

The Cover Oregon website.

The Cover Oregon website.

Speaking on OPB’s Think Out Loud, Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King said it makes a difference that Oregon is setting up its own exchange and not relying on the feds.

“You’re not calling Maryland and saying, ‘I live in Burns,’ and they don’t know where Burns is,” King said. “When you call our call center they’re going to know how many plans are available there. They’re going to be able to talk about some of the challenges people have finding providers for example in some parts of the state.”

And he says it was Oregonians who decided what standards the various insurance plans had to adhere to.

But for the first few weeks, anyone who wants to enroll will have to work with an insurance agent or other facilitator as glitches are worked out of the system.

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