Obamacare applicants in Oregon are getting "robocalls" telling them they'll have to seek coverage elsewhere if they want their coverage to start on Jan. 1, if their enrollments are not confirmed by Monday.
"If you haven't heard from us by Dec. 23, it is unlikely your application will be processed for Jan. 1 insurance coverage," said the calls, which are coming from the state's healthcare exchange, Cover Oregon, reports The Oregonian.
The state's exchange, like the troubled national website, HealthCare.gov, has experienced significant technological problems that are preventing Oregon residents from getting subsidized coverage on Jan. 1.
Oregon's site has been touted since last fall for being an "early innovator" model, and received some $305 million
from the federal government to build a website that other states would copy.
But three months after the site was to go live, Cover Oregon still has not launched and there have been no enrollments. Rocky King, executive director of the Cover Oregon program, said he has told residents to file paper applications, and he doesn't think the site will ever really work.
Out of more than 65,000 applicants, only 30,000 have been enrolled, and only about 11,000 of those are in private insurance plans, The Oregonian reports.
The exchange's robocalls are also suggesting the exchange problems may prevent many people from getting tax credits or subsidies they are entitled to receive.
On Friday, Cover Oregon spokesman Michael Cox said he did not know how many calls were made. He noted the calls were targeting people whose tax credit eligibility was not determined, and after their applications are processed, Cover Oregon will either write or call them so they can proceed.
Even people getting the enrollment calls after Monday night could still be able to enroll before the end of the year, Cox said.
Friday's robocalls though, were made to address concerns about gaps in coverage, said Cox.
"It's giving guidance to those folks who are nervous because they haven't heard from us and want and need coverage Jan. 1," Cox said.
The recordings tell applicants they will still be able to get their coverage through private insurers, but those plans won't qualify for the federal tax credits. Some companies, though, say they'll move people onto the exchange if they qualify for tax credits, and that they'll accept binding premium payments as late as Jan. 15.
And like with the national website, Oregon residents can still file for coverage through March 31, but will face a coverage gap if their current plans end on Dec. 31.
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