June 6 --I attended the statewide Cover Oregon Consumers Advisory Committee meetings in Portland. I'm a member, and about 12 or so of us show up once a month and hear from administrators about changes that are going on, and get updates; we also ask a lot of questions and give advice to the Cover Oregon administrators based on what people in our home areas tell us.Yesterday was special because Clyde Hamstreet (the interim CEO) and Tina Edlund (the transitions director) spent an hour and a half with us. They gave us the report they had given to the Oregon Legislative committee on May 28, and we had lots of questions for them. They have made many structural changes. Re-structuring means that Oregon will complete the year on a secure financial base. Many of the working parts of the Cover Oregon website will be kept. In the future, OHA will be responsible for OHP enrollment, rather than Cover Oregon. Though the Federal website will be used in November for commercial insurance plans, Oregon will retain control of how they both are managed, and Oregon's insurance rates will remain lower than those of most other states. Also, commercial rates in November will NOT be the same as they are now so people interested in changing their commercial plans need to check the Cover Oregon site in the fall.
The Cover Oregon board will meet Thursday and possibly make some more decisions. Everyone at the meeting spoke very highly about the Community Partners and Navigators, and the agents, who have helped people to enroll successfully. We also observed that many new enrollees need help in understanding how to use the system. Overall, we on the committee felt good about the meeting and the attitudes of the new managers, who very much want the programs to succeed. My own feeling is that the public attitude toward Cover Oregon is improving and will continue to, once the public learns how many people have been enrolled (more than 400,000 now).
Report by Bobbi Hall