Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Hiccups plague Cover Oregon launch in Woodburn

by: JEFF MCDONALD  - Abram Chuprov picked up his application form for Cover Oregon's new health care exchange at Salud Medical Facility in Woodburn. The system is still not working in several locations around the state. Nearly 200 people showed up at Salud Medical Center Tuesday and Wednesday in Woodburn for what was billed as the launch of the state’s medical exchange.

Unfortunately, a glitch in the portal allowing individuals to get enrolled in Cover Oregon’s new health care exchange meant none of those who showed up or called could be signed up for the exchange, said Rosa Cortez Bañuelos, patient benefits coordinator at Salud.

Another 250 people called or expressed interest in the program. Salud told people who showed up Tuesday and Wednesday that they would call them once the portal was available, Cortez Bañuelos said.

One woman came at 5 a.m., four hours before the federally funded clinic would open, Cortez Bañuelos said.

“She was really upset when she left here,” she said. “This is really affecting us because we built up trust in our community that this would be ready to launch Oct. 1.”

Salud was still waiting Wednesday for the link to be able to get into the Cover Oregon portal. Without the link, the community clinic would not be able to process any applications, Cortez Bañuelos said.

Outreach workers provided information about the program and told people they would call them when the system was ready.

Cover Oregon's launch has been delayed around the state as the exchange has not opened the portal to register available to many community partners, Cortez Bañuelos said.

One person who showed up Tuesday was Abram Chuprov, 53, who had a stroke two years ago which left him with balance and falling issues. He was on the Oregon Health Plan until this spring when he was denied coverage, he said.

He, his wife and their 7-year-old son live on his Social Security benefits, which total $1,800, he said.

Chuprov, who worked in construction locally for 31 years before the stroke, cannot pay his bills and has asked his kids to pay for his electricity costs.

“I’ve got to pay all my medical bills, all my prescriptions,” he said.

Chuprov’s wife also has congestive heart failure, he said.

At Salud, Chuprov picked up an application and was told he would be called back when the system was up and running.

Oregonians already on the Oregon Health Plan were told they simply had to fill out a form and they would automatically qualify for Medicaid coverage under Cover Oregon.

“If you are a pre-screened Oregon resident, you do not have to go through the application process at Cover Oregon,” said Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority, in a press release. “Just fill out the simple form and return it to us, and you will be signed up for health care coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2014.”

Maribel Anduaga, 45, of Monitor, waited for seven hours in the Salud lobby for the system to get up and running. She was prepared for an even longer wait if needed, she said.

Anduaga’s two children are covered by Oregon’s Healthy Kids program, but she and her husband are uncovered, she said.

“I need to see the doctor because my blood pressure is too high,” she said. “I have not seen the doctor because I don’t have insurance.”

Last year, Anduaga went to the doctor in pain and ended up needing a hysterectomy. She still has about $2,000 in medical bills from the surgery, she said.

“The new plan is very good for me because maybe I will pay a little, but not much,” she said.

Once the system gets up and running, open enrollment for insurance on Cover Oregon's exchange will continue through Dec. 31. Coverage becomes effective Jan. 1.

For more information, visit www.coveroregon.com.




Local Weather

Fair

68°F

Woodburn

Fair

Humidity: 55%

Wind: 6 mph

  • 29 Jul 2014

    Clear 89°F 59°F

  • 30 Jul 2014

    Mostly Sunny 90°F 60°F