Oregon may dump health exchange for HealthCare.gov

WASHINGTON — Oregon will decide Friday whether to kill its troubled health exchange site and replace it with HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange site.

"The recommendation from the technology options work group is to use the federal technology for private plans and leverage our current investment to support the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) at the Oregon Health Authority," said Ariane Holm, Cover Oregon spokeswoman.

The move comes after an advisory board recommended that the site, often called the worst in the nation, be dropped. Oregonians have signed up for health insurance through a mix of paper applications and the website, a tedious, slow process necessitated by the website's glitches.

The state has spent at least $134 million on the site, plus an additional $7 million to process the paper applications because the contractor, Oracle Corp., was never able to fix the website.

Federal officials immediately said they would work with states that choose to use the federal site, rather than malfunctioning state sites.

"We are working with Oregon to ensure that all Oregonians have access to quality, affordable health coverage in 2015," said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright.

HealthCare.gov was built to be "scalable," meaning it can add and subtract states as needed.

Oregon may be the first state to decide to revert to the federal site. Maryland and Hawaii have also had major problems with their state exchanges.


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