Washington says it is ready for 'Obamacare,' but is Oregon?

Washington says it is ready for 'Obamacare,' but is Oregon?
EXAMPLE: This is what one of the pages will look like on Cover Oregon's website starting Tuesday, Oct. 1.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Next Tuesday will be the first time you can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," but Oregon's website won't be fully ready.

While Washington's website will be fully open for customers, Oregon says there's no reason to rush things.

By now, not only have you seen the commercials, you can probably sing along.

Cover Oregon is Oregon's version of Obamacare.

Its website is where those who don't have insurance will go to get covered come Tuesday; however, when you go to the site on Oct. 1 and compare plans, you won't be able to buy one there. You'll instead be referred to an insurance agent, according to Amy Fauver, spokeswoman for Cover Oregon.

Oregon is limiting purchasing power through its website to insurance agents and community groups who have received training. It'll be that way for several weeks so Cover Oregon can work out any computer bugs.

"It's been our plan for the last couple of months," Fauver said. "It wasn't one glitch that came up that made us go to this. It was really, we looked at the user testing that we were doing, the amount of time we had to roll things out, and we thought that we wanted to make sure that everyone who comes to coveroregon.com has a really positive experience."

But if you go to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange website this Tuesday, the site for the 1,000,000 uninsured north of the Columbia River, a spokesman promises customers can do everything online.

"The reality is we have been preparing for this day for a really long time. We've stress-tested the system," said Michael Marchand, spokesman for Washington's exchange.

But the folks at Cover Oregon think they are doing the prudent thing by waiting to see if there are bugs before going public.

There is no hurry to register Tuesday. You have until mid-December to sign up for Obamacare in either state to have coverage that kicks in the first of the year. There's plenty of time to do research on which plan fits your needs.


KATU wants to make sure you have the information you need as this health care transition happens.

On Monday we'll have people from Cover Oregon at the KATU studios to talk with you about what to expect.

They'll be on Facebook from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Be sure to join the conversation at facebook.com/katunews.