Cover Oregon has hired extra staff and an additional call center to process 65,000 applications that were turned in prior to the December 4th deadline. 28,000 people have been determined to be eligible and 37,000 people are yet to be processed.
Oregon has spent $4-million dollars on the effort to increase speed of processing the applications.
Dr. Bruce Goldberg, interim head of Cover Oregon, says they're working around the clock to get packets to people who are eligible for private insurance through an exchange. He says they need to respond immediately after receiving the packets if they want insurance by January 1.
Goldberg says their top priority is processing paper applications. Work is still underway to fix problems with the website, but Goldberg says that won't happen until sometime in January or later. People have until March to sign up.
Goldberg says they've faced several obstacles in getting the paper applications processed including a building with frozen pipes that was flooded and needs to be cleaned.
For people who need insurance by January 1 and won't get paperwork processed in time Goldberg says they should buy insurance through a private carrier until Cover Oregon determines eligibility. If you currently have insurance you can keep that until it's determined whether you qualify for a plan represented by Cover Oregon.