Gov. John Kitzhaber on Friday outlined new resources, support and accountability for Cover Oregon to help boost enrollment in the new health insurance system.
The governor announced that Greg Van Pelt, former CEO of Providence Health System Oregon and current president of the Oregon Health Leadership Council, would lend his expertise and provide an independent, outsider's view of Cover Oregon,.
Van Pelt's focus, he said, will be on making sure that Cover Oregon is dedicating appropriate resources, and in the right way, to improve the system and secure coverage for Oregonians signing up for plans beginning in January.
“We made a commitment to Oregon, and we're going to keep it,” said Kitzhaber. “Greg will bring an outsider’s eye to a challenging situation and a wealth of management experience to ensure that we are doing everything we can to get the system up and running – from start to finish, for every Oregonian."
The exchange's online enrollment system was not ready to launch on schedule in October, and the organization still hasn't enrolled a single person through a paper-based backup system. Oregon has received about 30,000 paper applications.
Van Pelt retired earlier this year after 38 years with the Providence System, where he led the organization through major changes related to health care reform.
“It's important that we get this right for Oregon," he said. “Everyone has worked too hard, and come too far, to not meet our goals together. Projects of this scope are not without their challenges, but I have every confidence that if we all step up, we can and will make sure that everyone who wants and needs coverage is enrolled in the right plan.”
The governor also announced that he’s asked Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority, to oversee the application, eligibility and enrollment process itself.
Goldberg will be focused on ensuring that applications are processed quickly, efficiently, and accurately, and that everyone who has applied for coverage is enrolled in a plan.
The governor said his changes will allow Rocky King and his team at Cover Oregon to focus on getting the website fully functional and assure Oracle meets its milestones and deadlines.
At a Friday morning press conference, the governor also urged Oregonians to submit their applications by December 4 to begin the enrollment process.
“The plans are competitive and affordable, and staff and community assisters are ready to help answer questions and determine eligibility for financial assistance,” he said. “And it’s all hands on deck to help Oregonians get signed up for the coverage they want and need.”