October 1, 2013 – Cover Oregon, the state’s new health insurance marketplace, opened for business today. At CoverOregon.com, Oregonians can begin shopping for a health insurance plan that’s right for them and find savings to help to pay for it.
“This is truly a new day in health care for people across our state, bringing more access, choice and competition to the marketplace than ever before,” said Howard “Rocky” King, executive director of Cover Oregon. “Health insurance is now available to hundreds of thousands more people, even if they have pre-existing health conditions.”
Beginning today, individuals, families and small businesses can go to CoverOregon.com or call 1-855-CoverOR (1-855-268-3767) to find a certified insurance agent or community partner who can help them start signing up for health insurance. Help is free and available in multiple languages. Online, they can also browse and compare different plans and estimate the savings they might receive.
"This is a big day for our state and the nation. With Cover Oregon's launch, we are well on our way to thousands of Oregonians, many of whom have never had coverage before, receiving health insurance beginning this January," said Governor Kitzhaber. "And as Cover Oregon opens its doors today, we are one important step closer to creating a more efficient and better coordinated health care system that doesn't just offer people insurance, but actually helps to improve their health and well-being at a price they and our state can afford."
King points out that today is a starting point, with additional features to come. “We knew there would be bumps in the road as we roll out the technology, and we’ve planned for them,” he said, “In fact, we are not fully satisfied with one part of our system: the eligibility determination for tax credits and for the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids. We don’t want a single Oregonian to miss out on the chance for low-cost or no-cost health coverage, so we’re taking a bit more time to get that part of the system ready.”
As a result, later in October, people can determine their eligibility for savings on private plans or eligibility for the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids, and enroll in a plan—either with an agent or community partner, or on their own if they desire. No matter when they enroll between now and Dec. 15, coverage starts Jan. 1.
Open enrollment for commercial plans continues through March 2014. Enrollment for the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids will be open year-round. Small businesses can also enroll year-round.
Cover Oregon Offers Choice, One-stop Shopping and Financial Savings
Cover Oregon is a public corporation, created by the Oregon Legislature, for Oregonians and by Oregonians. It provides access to quality health insurance for individuals and small businesses across the state, as well as the 560,000 Oregonians currently without health insurance coverage of any kind.
In addition to making it easier to find the right plan, Cover Oregon is the only place to get access to cost savings in the form of tax credits to cover premiums and cost-sharing assistance to cover doctor visits, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs. It is estimated that more than 400,000 Oregonians, including individuals earning up to $45,900 a year and a family of four earning up to $94,200 a year, will qualify.
People shopping for health insurance will have unparalleled choice in plans and insurance companies, all in one place. Sixteen commercial health and dental insurance companies will offer 102 health insurance plan options to individuals and families, and 73 plans to small businesses. To aid consumers in choosing among these options, Cover Oregon offers clear language, side-by-side comparisons, and options to sort and evaluate plans based on the criteria they consider most important.
In addition to these private health insurance plans, Cover Oregon will facilitate enrollment in public medical programs, such as the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids, for which many more people now qualify.
All of the plans offered through Cover Oregon will cover essential health benefits, including doctor visits, hospital stays, maternity care, emergency room care, prescriptions, preventive care, mental health services, vision insurance for kids, and more. Some plans will cover alternative care. Dental plans are also available.
Small businesses shopping on Cover Oregon can offer unprecedented choice to their employees. They can set the dollar amount they’ll spend for employees’ insurance, and then allow them to choose from virtually every plan offered on Cover Oregon, if they wish. Employers with 50 or fewer employees may shop on Cover Oregon. Those with fewer than 25 employees can also apply for IRS tax credits to help offset up to 50 percent of premium costs (up to 35 percent for tax-exempt organizations).
For more information, visit CoverOregon.com or call 1-855-CoverOR (toll free 1-855-268-3767). The service center is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and can help people in multiple languages.