Cover Oregon’s Enrollment Rebounds

Cover OregonOn Monday, Cover Oregon announced that 7,500 people have enrolled in private insurance plans—an astonishing 100 percent increase from last week, when a little over 700 people received word of coverage.

Cover Oregon, which has a completely dysfunctional website, failed for weeks to enroll a single individual and has had its share of bad headlines, is now quickly catching up to other states.

Among the 13 other states with state-run exchanges, Oregon is in the middle of the pack: Minnesota, Nevada and Vermont have each enrolled between 4,500 and 5,000 people; Washington has enrolled nearly 18,000, and California’s exchange leads the country with nearly 110,000 enrollees.

Combined with the nearly 13,500 who have enrolled in Medicaid through the exchange, Cover Oregon has enrolled approximately 21,000 previously uninsured people into insurance. Despite a general attitude that Cover Oregon is lagging behind other states, the exchange has helped cut the state’s uninsured rate by 10 percent, and seems to be making up for lost time (communications director Amy Fauver abruptly cancelled an interview with State of Reform today to discuss the exchange’s progress).

All the people covered by Cover Oregon applied for private insurance via paper application, which the exchange quickly resorted to once it became clear that Cover Oregon’s website could not function.  Interim director Dr. Bruce Goldberg told the Associated Press that more applications will be processed by the end of December in time for coverage beginning on January 1.

And, as it becomes more apparent that Cover Oregon’s problems derive from mismanagement and broken promises from Oracle, the software company building Cover Oregon’s website, it’s obvious Cover Oregon isn’t giving up without a feisty fight—it is withholding nearly $20 million in unpaid bills from the company has hired outside legal counsel to advise the exchange on enforcing its contract with Oracle.