Governor Kitzhaber on Thursday signed HB 4164, which paves the way for the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, a central marketplace where individuals and small employers can shop for insurance plans and access federal tax credits to help pay for coverage.
HB 4164 approves the Business Plan for the Exchange, which will be available to Oregonians in October 2013 through an easy-to-use website, toll-free phone number as well as through insurance agents and community-based organizations.
"The Health Insurance Exchange is a key part of health reform in Oregon," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Not only will the Exchange provide Oregonians with the ability to compare plans apples to apples, it will set standards for plans that focus on improving health and quality and lowering costs."
The Exchange will offer innovative health plan options for small employers that are simple to administer, making it easier for them to offer coverage to their employees.
"Offering health insurance to their employees is extremely challenging for Oregon's small businesses," said Governor Kitzhaber. "The Exchange will allow employers to offer more choice to their employees and access expanded federal tax credits to help pay for premiums."
The Exchange will continue to seek public input through its Board of Directors meetings and website (www.orhix.org) as it implements its Business Plan and prepares for October 2013 open enrollment. By January 2013, the Exchange must receive federal readiness certification. Enrollment in Exchange plans will begin January 1, 2014.
HB 4164 is one of 38 bills signed by Governor Kitzhaber following the end of the February legislative session.