TIGARD, Ore. – Cover Oregon, the state’s health insurance exchange, is preparing for a worst-case scenario by slashing its budget for next year and bracing for lower-than-expected enrollment numbers.
Cover Oregon’s finance committee met at Cover Oregon’s offices Wednesday afternoon to get a breakdown of the numbers. Interim director Dr. Bruce Goldberg laid things out for the next two years.
This year, Cover Oregon has a $90 million budget – all of it federal taxpayer dollars. It has to use it or lose it.
Getting the website up and running is top priority and becoming self-sufficient means enrolling enough people in private insurance plans by year’s end.
Last month, Cover Oregon said it needs 145,000 people enrolled. It has about 35,000 – those are low enrollment projections and are numbers Cover Oregon has been working with since December.
The budget reduction comes in 2015. Goldberg cut it by $10 million, bringing it to $50 million.
A big chunk of that comes from advertising costs.
Advertising in the past was targeting young people – the very people Cover Oregon needs to enroll. They cost the least amount to insure but still pay a monthly fee.
Goldberg said he’s confident young people will sign up, not because of advertising, but instead when they know Cover Oregon has a working product.
Watch the full interview with Goldberg below: