Challenges Ahead for Cover Oregon

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Cover Oregon celebrated their Affordable Care Act launch on Tuesday with much fanfare, and more than a few issues.

Cover Oregon officials say Tueday’s launch is more of a soft roll-out. They say a few bugs are expected, and the next few weeks will be dedicated to addressing all the loose ends.

What that means for now is that you can browse insurance plans with estimated prices based on your income. You can also see if you’re eligible for Medicaid or Healthy Kids.

What you can’t do is actually apply for and enroll in coverage. In order to address that, Cover Oregon has trained agents and community partners in the area.

Both can provide information on plans and guide you through the enrollment process and both say it’s a big task to take on.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t know this world. They don’t know how to shop for their own insurance and make decisions, and they’re used to people guiding them in those directions,” said Cover Oregon Agent Lindsey Olson.

Local insurance providers say they’re re-tooling all of their plans for 2014 to be ACA compliant. The big changes are that they will have to accept everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, and there will be a limit on what people can pay out of pocket in a single visit.

They say that may result in higher premiums for some plans. That is meant to be offset through state subsidies and Medicaid expansion, but the net impact remains to be seen.

Cover Oregon will come with an individual mandate, which means everyone is required to get insurance by 2014. For a list of agents and community partners in your area, click here.