More national headlines rang out Thursday about Obamacare, many of them saying things like, "Small Business Exchanges Delayed,." or "Another Obamacare delay." Something Oregonians might not know is that this does not apply to them.
Online open enrollment for small businesses in Oregon is set to begin mid-October. Oregon's exchange is not on the exact timeline as federal exchanges, because Cover Oregon is a state-run exchange.
Many times, national headlines concerning Obamacare do not apply to Oregonians. While the Affordable Care Act is put in place by federal action, the online exchanges are run state by state.
"You want to kind of block out what's happening on the federal level," Heather Carlin, a local insurance agent, said Thursday. "Because a lot of it, for example the federal exchange, doesn't apply to Central Oregonians at all."
A total of 25 states across the nation offered to allow the federal government to create their online shop for health insurance. Oregon is ahead of the curve on health care reform and that is why it is able to run its own site. Oregon started early and is on the short list of states that are ready to go by the Oct. 1 deadline.
"We are one of the only states that right now is truly ready to go with a robust exchange on October 1st," Carlin said.
That means rates for individual plans will be ready to view next Oct. 1, and rates for small businesses will be ready to view sometime in mid October.
"So in mid-October, Cover Oregon is going to open up for small businesses to open up their plans and cost options," Carlin said.
Right now, it's a waiting game for rates around the nation. There isn't a next step for many until rates come out. Then they can make their more educated decisions on plans and providers.
"We don't have rates, we don't have information, so we're waiting with bated breath like other small business employers to see what this does mean to us," Carlin said.
The waiting game is almost over, and soon we will have a better idea of what it means for individuals, as well as small and large business owners.
For now, Oregonians who have questions can call their health insurance agent or go to coveroregon.com.