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Cover Oregon drops website in favor of federal exchange

The Cover Oregon board voted Friday morning to drop its troubled website and instead enroll Oregonians via the federal exchange. It means significant staff reductions for the agency.

Cover Oregon board member Dr. George Brown called it a sad day.

"Of course we're disappointed," he said. "And I think disappointment really describes it well. People have worked very hard to make this work."

The change carries a lot of repercussions for Oregonians. Those who secured private insurance through Cover Oregon may have to reapply through the federal website.

Five of the 16 insurance companies on Cover Oregon's exchange don't have the computer interface to work with the federal exchange. It's not clear if those companies will build one or stop offering insurance locally.

Insurance could also be a little more expensive in Oregon — about $4 a month more — because the federal exchange charges more to enroll customers.

Finally, cuts are being discussed for the 190 full-time and 270 part-time Cover Oregon staff.