Oregon passes health insurance exchange bill, considers coordinated care bill

Oregon will join the group of states moving forward on federal health care reform requirements. The Governor signed a bill that will create Oregon’s health insurance exchange, allowing residents to shop for health insurance policies with comparative information. The state is also considering House Bill 3650, Health Care Transformation, which will create an integrated, coordinated health care delivery system for Oregon Health Plan recipients. The Governor used his bill signing to encourage state lawmakers to move forward on the second bill.

Under the terms of the new health insurance exchange law, a nine member board will be appointed by the Governor to oversee standards for participation and ensure transparency. The governing board must include at least two consumer representatives and no more than two representatives from various health care sectors, including insurance. The board will also provide a plan for overall management of the exchange including the creation of a public corporation for the exchange by 2012.

Consumers will have more information than ever before about the policies available to them and will be able to keep policies that they got from their employer even if they leave their position. Small business is also expected to get a boost from the bill which gives them more flexibility in choosing benefits and allows employees to choose their own policies.

“Oregon’s health insurance exchange puts the power into the hands of consumers and small businesses,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “A local Exchange accountable to Oregonians — not the federal government – offers choice competition, value, and transparency.”