Cover Oregon gets Federal Nod for Health Insurance Exchange

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[/raw] NEWS RELEASE

DECEMBER 10, 2012

Media Contact:
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324

(Salem, OR) — Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave Oregon conditional approval for its plan to operate a health insurance exchange – called Cover Oregon – which will help connect thousands of Oregonians to health coverage. Oregon was among the first six states in the nation to receive conditional approval of its “blueprint” application.

“Cover Oregon is a key piece of Oregon’s efforts to transform our health care system,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “With transparency about quality and prices and the ability to make apples-to-apples comparisons, Oregonians will be empowered to make decisions about their health coverage.”

Cover Oregon is a central online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for and compare health coverage options and access financial assistance, starting in October 2013. Coverage for plans purchased through Cover Oregon will be effective January 1, 2014.

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, at http://www.coveroregon.com/calculator.php.

Small businesses 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.

Cover Oregon’s blueprint application details how it will operate in areas such as technology, eligibility and enrollment, and consumer and stakeholder engagement. According to CMS, conditional approval indicates that a state has not completed all blueprint exchange activity requirements but will be operationally ready for the initial open enrollment period in October 2013.

“We are pleased to have completed this important step in developing a state-based exchange,” said Liz Baxter, chair of the Cover Oregon Board of Directors. “As we prepare for our launch next fall, we will continue to engage the public to ensure Cover Oregon meets the unique needs of Oregonians.”

To learn more about Cover Oregon, including schedules of public meetings, visit www.coveroregon.com.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.ihealthbrokers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/IMG_3889.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jesse Smedley is an experienced small business health insurance broker and the Founder of iHealthBrokers.com and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. He is a respected advisor and an excellent source of information in the ever changing health care reform marketplace.[/author_info] [/author]