Below is an update from Cover Oregon, the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange. The Oregon Business Plan and its partners called for a health insurance exchange in 2007, and worked with the Governor and legislature to establish Cover Oregon in 2011 and 2012. Oregonians will be able to shop for insurance on the exchange beginning fall of 2013.
Salem – Sixteen health insurance carriers have submitted applications to participate in Cover Oregon when it launches for open enrollment in October.
“One of the Board’s key expectations is that individuals and small employers throughout Oregon have multiple plans to choose from, so they can enroll in coverage that works best for themselves and their families,” said Liz Baxter, chair of the Cover Oregon Board of Directors. “We are pleased with this initial response from carriers, an early indicator that we will reach that goal.”
Cover Oregon is a central online marketplace where individuals and small employers can shop for and compare health coverage options and access financial assistance. Open enrollment will begin Oct. 1, 2013, and coverage for plans purchased through Cover Oregon will be effective January 1, 2014.
Of the carriers who have applied to participate in Cover Oregon, 14 have said they will offer plans in the individual market and 13 plan to offer plans in the small group market. The applications were due Dec. 31, 2012, and there are still several steps before the plans are finalized. Cover Oregon must review the applications and certify the carriers that meet its requirements this spring. And the carriers must file the plan details and the rates with the Oregon Insurance Division.
The carriers that have applied are: ATRIO Health Plans, Inc., BridgeSpan Health Company, Family Care Health Plans, Inc., Freelancers CO-OP of Oregon, Health Net Health Plans of Oregon, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, Inc., Mid Rogue Health Plan, Inc., ODS Health Plan, Inc., Oregon’s Health CO-OP (incorporated as Community Care of Oregon), PacificSource Health Plans, Providence Health Plan, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Samaritan Health Plans, Inc., Trillium Community Health Plan, Inc., and UnitedHealthCare.
“Some carriers that are not currently in the Oregon’s individual and small group markets have expressed interest in participating in Cover Oregon – we see this as a positive development for consumers as it will bring more competition,” said Howard “Rocky” King, Cover Oregon executive director.
Through Cover Oregon, individuals and families will be able to easily compare plans, see quality grades for carriers and plans, and access financial assistance to help pay for premiums. Oregonians can find out if they may qualify for financial help by visiting the calculator on the Cover Oregon website, athttp://www.coveroregon.com/calculator.php.
Small employers will be able to offer more options to their employees through Cover Oregon, and some will qualify for tax credits to help pay to cover their employees. To estimate how much they may save, employers can use the small employer calculator on the Cover Oregon website, at