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Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange Still Doesn't Work

Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange Still Doesn't Work

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — With a reputation as a pacesetter in health care, Oregon laid out bold plans for complying with the federal overhaul.

The state wouldn’t just create a health insurance exchange, a complicated undertaking in its own right. Oregon officials set out to build one of the biggest and best in the nation — a model that other states would want to copy.

But more than a month after Cover Oregon’s online enrollment was supposed to launch, reality is lagging far behind Gov. John Kitzhaber’s grand ideas. The online system still doesn’t work, and the exchange has yet to enroll a single person in health insurance.

Interviews with state officials and a review of public records by The Associated Press suggest Cover Oregon officials bit off more than they could chew and clung to their ambitious vision even when their risk management consultants raised alarms.

While rushing to get the exchange done, programmers and project managers also were busy with separate complex computer projects for the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Human Services.

Cover Oregon officials say they’re working hard to finish the project and insist the features they’re creating will be worth the wait — even if it remains unclear when the site will go online.

 

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