- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon is planning to use an online Medicaid enrollment system from Kentucky after giving up on its own troubled software.

Oregon’s Medicaid director, Judy Mohr Peterson, told a state legislative committee about the plan Monday.

Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, kynect, has been applauded as a success story. Oregon’s exchange, called Cover Oregon, became a political embarrassment for Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber when it failed to launch.

Oregon and its main technology contractor, Oracle Corp., have filed lawsuits against each other.

Once the transfer is complete, Oregon will use a federal website to enroll people in private insurance and will use the Kentucky software to manage enrollments in the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid.

Federal grants that paid for states to develop their own insurance exchanges required them to share the software, so Oregon can use Kentucky’s software code and documentation without charge, said Patty Wentz, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon will have to pay to adapt the software for its needs, but it wasn’t immediately clear what that will cost.

Because of the Cover Oregon problems and the shift to the federal website, Oregonians who enrolled in private insurance through Cover Oregon will have to re-enroll at HealthCare.gov by Dec. 15 or lose their coverage at the end of the year. But numbers released last week showed only about one in 10 people who previously signed up for coverage had re-enrolled.

Kitzhaber said Monday that he’s not surprised enrollment has been slow.

“We expect a dramatic increase in that as we move toward the end of the open enrollment period,” Kitzhaber told reporters.

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