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With no cure for Cover Oregon - what's next?

By Wanda Moore
Published On: Apr 28 2014 11:24:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 29 2014 04:31:36 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Wanda Moore looked into what's next for Oregonians now that the state switched to the federal exchange.

BEND, Ore. -

After four months of frustration and confusion, Carolynn Stoops finally has the health insurance she arranged through Cover Oregon.

"It's been hard. And financially, it's been difficult," Stoops said Monday.

From a state once hailed as a national leader in health care reform, Cover Oregon has become a nationally known failure, the butt of jokes that make many wince.

"Oregon spends a quarter of a billion dollars, and its website designed to sign up people in one sitting did that for exactly nobody," said John Oliver on his new show "Last Week Tonight" on HBO Sunday night.

It's no laughing matter for Oregonians. After almost $250 million, the site is being scrapped all together.

About $134 million was paid to Oracle Corp. for building the exchange.

Now, Oregon will join the federal exchange, but that does not mean we're starting all over again.

"Cover Oregon is more than just a Website," said Cover Oregon spokesperson Michael Cox. "Since open enrollment began in October, nearly 250,000 Oregonians have signed up for health coverage through Cover Oregon. That coverage stays in place."

If you have not yet signed up, you can go on https://www.coveroregon.com/ and request a PDF or a paper application. You can also contact an agent in your area.

"Our folks are continuing to sign people up," said Elaine Knobbs, Mosaic Medical's director of programs and development. "They've been signing up people even of this morning. And it's working the same as it has been working. "

Despite all the changes, one thing remains: an impending deadline for coverage this year.

"Customers need to get their initial applications in on April 30th," said Cox. "There will likely not be another extension." Wait, and you can't be covered through the program until next year.
 
Even if signing up gets easier, some frustration is likely to remain.

Stoops used to pay just over $100 a month for her coverage. Now she pays over $400 for what she says is less coverage.

"That does not make economic sense to me. And you know, right now I'm healthy -- but I am 62," said Stoops.

Cover Oregon will likely be in place for the remainder of 2014. Open enrollment for 2015 starts on Nov. 15th, 2014.

If you do not sign up by Wednesday, April 30th, you will be fined either $95 or 1 percent of your income.

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