PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — While other states have fought President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act, Oregon has embraced it and is working hard to implement it.
The law requires every state to have a new health insurance marketplace called an exchange. Oregon's Legislature created an exchange in 2011 and approved its business model the following year.
The exchange, which is known here as Cover Oregon, will be an online shopping center for small business and for people who don't get health coverage from their employer. Users will be able to compare the costs and benefits of various insurance plans, and they'll be able to find out whether they qualify for federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.
Here are answers to some common questions about the Oregon health insurance exchange:
Q: How many people are uninsured in Oregon and how many of them are projected to get insurance under the exchange?
A: In 2010, 636,000 people were uninsured, according to the Oregon Insurance Division. State officials expect 237,100 people to get insurance through the exchange in 2014.
Q: How many people in Oregon are currently served by Medicaid, and how many more will be served after the Medicaid expansion on Jan. 1, 2014?
A: Just over 555,0000 people were enrolled in the traditional Medicaid program, known as Oregon Health Plan Plus, on Dec. 15, 2012. State officials estimate that the Medicaid expansion would add another 200,000 people.
Q: How is the exchange going to be set up in Oregon?
A: The Oregon Legislature has opted to create its own exchange, rather than leaving it up to the federal government or partnering with the Obama administration. It's a quasi-public corporation, similar to the agency that oversees workers compensation in Oregon, and is governed by a nine-member board. A separate advisory committee provides additional guidance for the board.