MEDFORD, Ore. – Oregon officially decided to scrap the troubled Cover Oregon web site, after months of technical problems and hundreds of millions of dollars spent.
The Cover Oregon board agreed with a recommendation to end the web site and join the federal healthcare exchange. Officials estimated that it would cost $78 million to fix the Cover Oregon site, as opposed to a $4 million to $6 million price tag to switch to the federal system.
Oregon had received more than $300 million dollars in federal funds to design and develop the Cover Oregon site, but the online portal was plagued with technical problems since it launched last year. The site was unable to allow an individual to sign up for health insurance in one sitting, without the aid of an agent.
Cover Oregon officials are working to ease the transition to the federal healthcare exchange later this year. But local agents are worried that it will not be a smooth transition. David Cuttrell of Oregon Health Exchange in Medford said some people who signed up for health insurance under Cover Oregon may have to redo the entire signup process for the federal system in October.
“Depending on Cover Oregon and how they interface with the federal system, the people that we’ve enrolled will have to re-enroll again. They’ll have to go through this whole process all over again,” he said.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon), who had already asked for a federal investigation into how money was spent on Cover Oregon, released a statement on the decision to end the web site:
“Once again, Obamacare causes chaos and confusion for Oregonians. Today, the same board that oversaw the colossal waste at Cover Oregon voted to throw in the towel, and taxpayers are left stuck with the bill. The board should explain further to the taxpayers of Oregon and the nation how exactly this massive failure happened.”