Cover Oregon: If you haven’t heard from us by Monday… you should probably look for alternate coverage

posted at 7:01 pm on December 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

How did Oregon manage to go from one of the most enthusiastically pro-ObamaCare, gung-ho exchange-builders in the country to these shambles of lost administrative dignity? Two of their highest-ranking officials in charge of coordinating what they for months advertised as what would be a smooth, online, and hipster-friendly insurance-buying experience are already on the outs, and the 400 or so navigators they hired when they realized (too late) that they were in over their heads haven’t been quite enough to cope with the logistical struggle of signing people up for government-run insurance minus a functional website. Ergo, reports The Oregonian:

Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange began robocalling applicants Friday, warning them that if they don’t receive enrollment confirmation by Monday, they should seek coverage elsewhere for Jan. 1.

“If you haven’t heard from us by Dec. 23, it is unlikely your application will be processed for Jan. 1 insurance coverage,” a woman’s voice on the pre-recorded call from Cover Oregon says. “If you want to be sure you have insurance coverage starting Jan. 1, you have other options.”

It’s yet another sign that the health insurance exchange’s technological breakdowns will prevent some — perhaps many — Oregonians from getting subsidized coverage Jan. 1, despite Gov. John Kitzhaber’s previous assurances otherwise. Out of more than 65,000 applicants, the exchange reports enrolling nearly 30,000, but only about 11,000 of them in private insurance plans.

The calls also suggest the exchange’s problems will prevent many of those individuals from receiving tax credits or subsidies in January, even though they qualify for them.

Er… why are they just telling insurance-seeking Oregonians this now? If they really have 11,000 people now enrolled in private plans, then they have been making some very slow but steady progress on the larger heap of applications they have going over the past week or so — but they must have known for awhile now that there was no way in heck they were going to be able to process the lot of the applications submitted by December 23rd in time to begin coverage January 1st, what with the slow and often erroneous processing that is part and parcel of doing things via paper application. This really is turning into an unmitigated logistical nightmare — and just in time for Christmas!


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