Workaround for the Cover Oregon Debacle

coveroregonSort of like the last few years of Dexter; watching the debacle that is Cover Oregon is sort of a bloody pointless exercise – the beleaguered state agency’s best moment to date has been this week’s finally honest admission that it can’t promise anything about, well, anything. So, long live Oregon and what is an Oregonian to do?

Your Best Bet if You Have the Money
You may not love the taste of being mandated to buy an insurance policy, so the chaser was supposed to be a subsidy for those whose finances would leave them retching at this new and expensive requirement for having a body. But, waiting on the state’s determination of that subsidy may mean you cannot rely on being covered by January 1st.

So, if your finances can tolerate it, your best bet may be buying one of the plans on the hobbled exchange directly through the insurer offering it – if you’re probably not going to get a subsidy anyhow, doing so checks this off your to-do list.

If you’re likely eligible for a subsidy, you should still do this if you can, but you will also want to put in an application at Cover Oregon, because who knows, they could get their act together some day and that means a financial break for you.

Anyhow, doing all this now means no lapse in coverage if your current insurance ends on December 31 and you can also start racking up your medical expenses against the deductible right from the start of the year.

What to Buy, From Whom and Why
Even though you’re buying from a private insurer, do buy one of the plans they offer on the exchange as only these will score you a subsidy in the imagined future. Also, Cover Oregon has problems answering the phone and returning emails as of late, so plug your cell in because that battery will die in wait.

Although it is probably best to go through a private agent, you will want one that is designated as a ‘community partner’ on the Cover Oregon website, again so that you might someday see a subsidy. We’ve called the ones listed for Benton County; Corvallis Insurance Services hooked us up with someone knowledgeable on the spot each time we called and, with just a little phone tag we also got another agent — an independent by the name of Gregory Giles that also seemed helpful.

Our phone tag with The Swanson Agency Insurance failed us over a two day period, but at least they tried us back on occasion. Barker-Uerlings, on the other hand, were very helpful after a little bit more of that whole phone tag thing. Other partners listed on the site made no attempt to contact us back.

For OMIP
The state last week said they would create a temporary plan for people in the high risk pool, or Oregon Medical Insurance Pool. But, they are also saying there will be no subsidy. The details here, like so much else with the state’s health coverage conundrum, are currently sketchy.

The one thing that is clear, the new director at Cover Oregon admits upfront that you will be better off buying that somewhere else too.

by Rob Goffins

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