Oregon Health Insurance Deadline Extended

By Chris Lehman

Oregonians who want to apply for insurance through the state's troubled health insurance exchange now have some more breathing room. Governor John Kitzhaber announced Wednesday that the federal government has agreed to extend the deadline by a month.

People trying to sign up for private health insurance through Cover Oregon have been stymied by a website that still isn't fully functioning. That's left them vulnerable…not only because they don't have health insurance, but because they could face federal fines for failing to enroll. 

Last week Governor Kitzhaber announced a major turnover in top Cover Oregon officials in the wake of a scathing independent audit. Now, he says he’s worked with federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to give Oregonians another month before they face penalties.

The Cover Oregon board could decide next month whether to forge ahead with the failing system. Alternatives include piggy-backing on a successful state’s program like Idaho’s, or using the federal government's version of the system.

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