MEDFORD, Ore. — Patients and medical providers across the state are getting ready for the launch of Cover Oregon this week.
Cover Oregon is the state’s version of the Affordable Care Act. If you have health insurance and you’re happy with that insurance, you won’t be affected at all, but those who don’t have insurance will see a few changes.
The website, which goes live Tuesday, will work as a marketplace. It will allow users to shop for both public and private options and apply for discounts. It will also include an expansion to Oregon Medicaid, also known as the Oregon Health Plan.
Nearly 21,000 people in Jackson and Josephine Counties alone who didn’t qualify for Medicaid before will be able to get in by 2016. Meanwhile, anyone making up to 400% of the federal poverty line, or roughly $46,000 a year for a single person, will be able to get tax subsidies on private options.
Cover Oregon officials say their goal is to have 95% of Oregonians insured by 2016. Those who don’t have insurance by 2014 will be penalized up to roughly a hundred dollars for the first year, with fines increasing after that. It will also eliminate pre-existing conditions for those who don’t qualify for expanded Medicaid and have to go through private insurance.
The first few weeks of the website will be a testing period. Users will be able to navigate options and determine eligibility but can’t actually sign up. You can sign up by contacting one of the community partners. Cover Oregon is still adding community partners but here is a partial list for Jackson County:
La Clinica — www.laclinicahealth.org
Community Health Center — www.communityhealthcenter.org
Oregon Action Rogue Valley — www.oregonaction.org
Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center — www.asante.org
On Track Addiction Recover — www.ontrackrecovery.org
These partners have all been trained in the new system and will be going through the new website with Cover Oregon officials Tuesday morning. They’re available to answer questions and help sign up for insurance plans.
Here are some of the dates you will need to know:
October 1 — Website Goes Live
January 1 — Coverage Eligibility Begins
March 31 — Individual Open Enrollment Ends
On Tuesday, the website goes live. Coverage actually begins on January 1st. Individual coverage has a six month enrollment period, which is set to expire at the end of March.