Oregon's health insurance exchange did not meet its goal of allowing online enrollment by the end of October. Officials at Cover Oregon announced Thursday they'll begin processing applications by hand. They say they've received more than 7,000 applications so far.
At an information session this week in Springfield, Kate Wheeler, coordinator of White Bird's "Cover Oregon" education program, explained the situation to about 12 participants.
Wheeler: "I don't have a definite date for you. I know a bunch of people are going to want to know that. We don't have a definite date yet. The first day coverage can begin is January 1st. That is if you apply by December 15th. So a big takeaway here-- don't panic. October 1st was not a deadline it was a starting date. As long as you apply by December 15th you can get coverage January 1st."
The December 15th deadline matters for some applicants whose current insurance will expire at the beginning of the year. Although the website is still not fully functional, people can fill out a form online and submit it electronically or print and mail it. A staff member at Cover Oregon will determine whether the applicant is eligible for a tax credit or public assistance and notify them in writing.