Wednesday, November 20, 2013

150,000 Oregonians Have Health Care Plan Cancelled by Obamacare; Cover Oregon Enrolls Zero in New Plans

About 150,000 Oregonians have had their health care plan cancelled. They may soon be joined by another 193,000 on small-employer plans. But, Oregon, a supposedly "cutting edge" state both in government healthcare and technology, has not managed a single enrollment under its Affordable Care Act state exchange Cover Oregon. This despite receiving nearly 25,000 nine to 19 page paper applications
With its online insurance marketplace out of commission and unavailable to the public indefinitely, the state has resorted to urging would-be subscribers to fill out applications that are between nine and 19 pages long by hand, said Michael Cox, a spokesman for Cover Oregon.
. . .

Nearly 25,000 individuals and families have so far submitted hard-copy applications, Cox said, with nearly two-thirds of those applicants eligible for Medicaid, a federal-state healthcare plan for the needy.

But none of those applicants has actually been enrolled, with manual processing of the paperwork slowing the process dramatically.
The Associated Press reports that 70,000 have enrolled in Oregon's Medicaid plan through an easy seven-question enrollment process. However, for those who do not qualify for the easy Medicaid sign up, health care in Oregon for the uninsured is not yet available.
For consumers, the application process can be long and frustrating.

"I've been trying since the very first day of October just to try to find out the coverage I could get," said Donna George*, 43, a bookkeeper from Bend, Ore., who's been uninsured for three years.

When the online system wouldn't work, George submitted a paper application Oct. 7 for herself and her husband. Finally, on Nov. 12, she received an enrollment packet that tells her how much of a tax credit she'll receive and lays out her coverage options. She's now waiting to meet with her insurance agent to pick a plan and return the forms.
* Interesting that the Associated Press has managed to find an Oregon resident negatively impacted by the Cover Oregon fiasco. To date, Oregonian reporters have not been able to find anyone like Donna George to interview.


MAX Redline said...

I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the AP might have found Donna through a Willamette Week story; at least, I think that's where I noticed it a couple of weeks ago.

To date, Oregon has spent $320 million on CoverOregon, although $20 million is for ads, and virtually all of the money is from "federal grants".

But it's not that complicated; all it involves, after all, is an electronic version of a paper application.

T. D. said...

Oh, tagging behind WW reporting? Heh. Is WW the main outlet in the Portland area with reporters (like Nigel Jaquiss) who still have a whiff of the shoe leather style about them?

MAX Redline said...

Oh yeah, TD - I think it was one of the three WW staff (Andrea) who found Donna in Bend. Well, they have more than three, but the big breakers seem to come from AAron, Andrea, and Nigel.

T. D. said...

I should drop by WW more often. Thanks for the heads up, Max.