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Agents so far left in dark over ramifications of Cover Oregon's demise

 Posted: 2:50 PM April 25, 2014

While state officials still have some explaining to do to the federal government for Oregon's failed health insurance exchange, Xenia Totten is among the scores of agents expecting to shepherd clients through another maze.

Oregon this week became the first state to drop its enrollment website — Cover Oregon — for HealthCare.gov, the federal version of the health care exchange.

"The Cover Oregon people told us (Thursday) we were going to piggyback onto HealthCare.gov, because Cover Oregon wasn't fixable or feasible," Totten said.

Prior to the news, the United Risk Solutions agent had been scrambling to get last-minute applicants signed up ahead of the April 30 deadline.

"At last count, I had personally signed up 323 people for health insurance through the Cover Oregon portal," Totten said. "My next priority is finding out what happens to those 300-plus people, along with my Medicare clients."

She said Thursday's webinar by Cover Oregon was less enlightening than she anticipated.

"It was a one-way street pretty much, because they didn't take any questions," Totten said. "They didn't get into how it will impact people and now we have to deal with the repercussions."

Cover Oregon announced during the webinar that five of the 16 insurance carriers linked to its system— Providence Health Plan, ATRIO Health Plans, Trillium Community Health Plan, the Oregon Health Co-op and Health Republic — lack compatible links to the federal system.

Michael Cox, a spokesman for Cover Oregon, said the exchange is still taking applications through next Wednesday. All enrollees, however, will have to re-enroll in November.

— Greg Stiles


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