PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Connecting Oregon's health insurance exchange to the federally run marketplace would be the least expensive fix for the glitch-filled system, a report released Friday said.
It would take Cover Oregon five to eight months and $4 million to $6 million to link to HealthCare.gov, far below what it would take to correct existing problems with the online state exchange, according to an analysis by Deloitte Development LLC.
The exchange was supposed to allow individuals and small-business owners to buy insurance plans online, but it wasn't ready to launch on Oct. 1 as planned. Oregon is the only state where the general public still can't enroll online in health coverage in one sitting.
Fixing the existing website would cost $25.5 million to $57 million in development and maintenance costs just this year - not counting 2015 costs - depending on whether Cover Oregon keeps or replaces its main technology contractor, Oracle Corp., the report said.
Whether or not Oracle is replaced, completely fixing the existing technology would take a year and a half to complete - meaning the website would only be partially finished for the next open enrollment that begins Nov. 15.
The state has already paid Oracle $134 million for the exchange and is withholding $26 million.
It would take seven to nine months and cost $17 million to $20 million to buy and configure technology that's already working in another state, such as Connecticut, according to the Deloitte analysis, first obtained by The Oregonian and dated Feb. 10.
Oregon could also contract out the entire exchange function, or just the non-functioning small-business part of the exchange, to an outside vendor. That vendor would host and maintain the website and own the technology, and Oregon would pay a monthly fee.
New Mexico's exchange plans to use such a vendor in 2015 at a cost of $40 million, but the report says contracting out the entire exchange would risky.
But contracting out just the small-business portion of the exchange is low risk and would take five to six months to implement at a minimum cost of $18 million, the report says.
The state could also provide an additional enrollment channel that allows people to sign up directly with insurance companies at a cost of $2 million to $3 million. However, that option would still require Cover Oregon or the federal government to maintain an exchange.
"It is a preliminary report," said Cover Oregon communications director Amy Fauver. "It's part of a body of ongoing work that will be used by decision makers on how to move forward after open enrollment."
Fauver did not indicate when Cover Oregon would decide on which option to go with.
Portland company says it can fix Cover Oregon for less
Last month, a Portland tech company told KATU’s On Your Side Investigator Chelsea Kopta that it can fix the website for $10 million.
Joaquin Lippincott, founder and president of Metal Toad, wrote a letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber and told him about his company’s plan to build a new health insurance exchange with brand new technology that’s sleeker and less expensive.
"It is my fervent belief that if Oregon had used open source technology, the Cover Oregon launch would have been delivered on time at a fraction of the cost," he wrote the governor.
A Kitzhaber spokeswoman told KATU that Cover Oregon is considering all options.
In February, two Oregon lawmakers, both of whom are running for higher office, said that it was time to scrap Cover Oregon and go another direction.
State Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point, who is the presumed frontrunner in the Republican’s quest to unseat Democrat Kitzhaber from the governor’s chair, told KATU that he wants to end Cover Oregon in favor of the federal exchange.
And Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, said during a legislative committee hearing that he had “lost faith” that Cover Oregon’s problems could be fixed. He proposed that Oregonians should be allowed to buy health insurance directly from insurance companies and have those companies check for eligibility at the federal level.
Conger is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jeff Merkley.
At the same time several Democratic lawmakers have argued that the focus needs to be on getting the Cover Oregon website working.
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Full coverage of the troubled Cover Oregon website:
- Cover Oregon goes to Congress, defends work that's been done
- Cover Oregon invites public to once-secret oversight meetings
- Top Cover Oregon IT official resigns
- Cover Oregon: Apply for insurance in April and avoid federal penalty
- Cover Oregon makes secret meetings public, won't explain the change
- Secret Cover Oregon oversight meetings may violate public meetings law
- Cover Oregon announces $1 million ad blitz to raise awareness
- Months later, Gresham woman still wondering if she has health insurance
- Portland tech company to governor: We can fix Cover Oregon's website
- State granted one-month extensioin for Cover Oregon enrollment
- First Data report: Cover Oregon didn't have federally required backup plan
- Watch: Your Voice Your Future Town Hall: Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon confessions: Are they playing games with your health?
- New report answers many Cover Oregon questions - often for second time
- Cover Oregon directory Goldberg resigns; Governor releases investigation findings
- Cover Oregon: Still pushing for deadline extension
- Oregon tied for last in nation for young-adult health-insurance sign-ups
- Cover Oregon: Apply now if you want health insurance this year
- Federal government announces Cover Oregon investigation
- Former Cover Oregon director says 'all of us' share blame for failures
- Top Cover Oregon official refuses to discuss Lawson resignation
- Official: Oracle not allowing Cover Oregon probe access to 6 employees
- Trouble with Cover Oregon? You may still get federal tax credits
- Cover Oregon website developer pulls 100 worker off project
- Ex-Cover Oregon website chief: 'I stuck to the talking points ... they were not accurate'
- High-level IT consultant on Cover Oregon: 'They didn't know what they were doing'
- New Cover Oregon allegations: 'If it's true, someone's going to prison.'
- Paging Dr. Kitzhaber: What did the governor know about Cover Oregon collapse?
- State rep., U.S. Senate candidate calls for the end of Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon head: State might scrap all or part of failing website
- State lawmakers to grill Cover Oregon chief
- Family struggles to sign up for insurance through Cover Oregon
- First legal complaint filed over health enrollment mistakes
- Democratic state lawmaker believes Cover Oregon can be saved
- Contractor plans to examine why Cover Oregon failed
- 'We look like fools:' A history of Cover Oregon's failure
- State rep: Ditch Cover Oregon in favor of federal exchange
- Video: Exclusive Interview: Gov. John Kitzhaber - Cover Oregon 1/9/2014
- Gov. denies prior knowledge of Cover Oregon failure, exits exclusive KATU interview
- Kitzhaber outlines Cover Oregon's next steps: 'I can't give you a date'
- Kitzhaber: Firm will review Cover Oregon failures
- Cover Oregon applications left in limbo?
- Man with cancer waiting on Cover Oregon, gets insured
- Man with cancer still waiting on Cover Oregon
- New calls for Cover Oregon to take responsibility for project failures
- Rocky King, director of troubled Cover Oregon, resigns
- Salem man says Cover Oregon error left him in health care limbo
- Some question if they'll be covered by Cover Oregon in the new year
- What doomed Cover Oregon? 'Mismanagement,' say former employees
- After resigning, Lawson not talking about Cover Oregon website failures
- Ore. health official in charge of building Cover Oregon website resigns
- Fewer enrollments challenge Oregon exchange budget
- Executive director of Cover Oregon taking medical leave
- Cover Oregon considers new solutions
- Kitzhaber calls for independent review of Cover Oregon
- New emails show Cover Oregon unraveling in days before launch
- Emails: Cover Oregon executive knew about website problems in May
- Cover Oregon complicated by state's grand vision