Kitzhaber to announce Cover Oregon changes

Kitzhaber to announce Cover Oregon changes
Gov. John Kitzhaber speaks during a news conference on Nov. 1, 2013, to address problems with Cover Oregon. KATU photo.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to announce changes Friday related to Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange.

A news release says the changes will include "additional resources, support and accountability to boost health care enrollment." A spokesman for Kitzhaber, Tim Raphael, declined to elaborate Thursday on the governor's plans.

The health insurance exchange, known as Cover Oregon, has not yet enrolled anyone in health coverage because the online system was not ready to launch on schedule in October. Officials have resorted to hiring or reassigning 400 workers to process applications by hand — a process that will take weeks. Cover Oregon officials say applications must be postmarked by Dec. 4 in order to get coverage that begins Jan. 1.

Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King told state lawmakers Wednesday that the latest projections are for the online system to launch next month, but most people who use it to enroll would not have their coverage begin until February.

Oregon was once seen as a leader in developing a health insurance exchange. But technology glitches have left it at the bottom of the pack for enrolling people in health care.

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