Cover Oregon to ask feds for more time, flexibility

Cover Oregon to ask feds for more time, flexibility

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon will ask the federal government for permission to give Oregonians more time to comply with the Affordable Care Act because of delays with the state's online health insurance exchange.
   
The Senate approved a bill Thursday ordering Cover Oregon to seek a one-month extension of the March 31 deadline for people to sign up for health insurance. It also would require the state to seek federal permission for Oregon residents to earn tax credits if they purchase coverage directly from an insurance company.
   
The state is already seeking approval for both steps, and the Obama administration has said it would grant tax credits to people who went around the exchange.
   
The measure also temporarily allows the governor to fire the entire Cover Oregon board.
   
It goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber.

On Wednesday, the federal government’s Government Accountability Office announced that it will conduct a review of Cover Oregon’s problem-plagued launch of its website, which still doesn’t completely work.

It is the second probe into the project. Kitzhaber ordered an investigation by First Data in January.

Cover Oregon has been earmarked for more than $300 million in funding, much of which has come from the federal government.

The On Your Side Investigators have detailed how the state failed to listen to an independent quality assessment firm that raised accurate red flags throughout the project; how Kitzhaber overlooked warnings from legislators; and how a former state representative went to the FBI with allegations that project managers presented fraudulent progress reports to the federal government.

Former director of Cover Oregon, Rocky King, also told the On Your Side Investigators that the blame for the problems with the website falls on him and other Cover Oregon officials, including then-CIO Carolyn Lawson.

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Full coverage of the troubled Cover Oregon website: