Health exchange website 'Cover Oregon' planned

(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — The website for Oregon's new health insurance exchange is expected to be completed by May. Then staff will conduct four months of testing before the system goes live in October.

The health insurance exchange is a key part of the nation's health care overhaul.

The plan is to allow people to go on-line to buy health insurance and at the same time find out if they're eligible for a federal tax break.

While many states have been slow to set-up exchanges, Oregon has embraced the idea.

It'll be called "Cover Oregon" and executive director, Rocky King, says it's a job to make sure the website can interface with the 14 different insurance providers who want to take part.

It also must connect with the IRS so income can be verified, as well as Social Security and residency status.

"You want to run through that system as many scenarios as you can to ensure that every decision about eligibility, every plan selection, every communication we have with every carrier, that it all works," King says.

The exchange has already hired 65 people. But when it goes live in October, 250 people or more will be working there — at least initially.

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