Faced with federal fee, Oregon reconsiders own exchange

Cover Oregon returns?

Cover Oregon is a federally funded online health insurance marketplace, Sept. 20, 2013. (Cover Oregon photo)
Cover Oregon is a federally funded online health insurance marketplace, Sept. 20, 2013. (Cover Oregon photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – With a new fee for some states using the federal health insurance portal on the horizon, Oregon says it’s looking into running its own exchange again.

State officials said they will solicit proposals this month for technology that’s successfully running a health insurance exchange in another state. Oregon ditched its problem-plagued Cover Oregon portal last spring and switched to the federal website, but retains certain functions like certifying plans.

The proposed fee of 3 percent on premiums would be paid by insurance carriers, who would likely pass the costs on to consumers. The federal government is considering reducing the fee to 1.5 percent for the 2017 benefit year. Oregon officials said buying existing exchange software might be more cost effective.

Nevada, New Mexico and Hawaii also face the federal fee.

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