Advisory Committee Will Provide Consumer Perspective for Exchange
November 1, 2011— As Oregon develops its health insurance exchange, a consumer watchdog group is intent on changing the stereotypes associated with government-run programs.
“I would like people to say, ‘It’s not the typical government program, it works,” said John Breene of Pendleton, a member of the Individual and Employer Consumer Advisory Committee.
The 21-member committee is charged with providing opinions, analyzing issues and facilitating discussion about the exchange.
Jim Coffee of Coastal Family Health Center in Astoria said the state should have an exchange simple enough that mothers of all ages would find easy to use.
“What I’d like to hear people say is that my mom could do it,” Coffee joked, eliciting laughter.
As the exchange progresses, consumer perspective will take on greater importance toward the overall success of the exchange, said Rachel Oh, external affairs specialist with the exchange.
“I think it is vital [to have] consumer input. This is where this board comes in,” Oh said.
Before its implementation, consumers need to be provided with opportunities to learn about the exchange. Committee Vice-Chair Steve Ferree owner of Portland-based Mr. Rooter, said education is an area he’d like to see discussed by the advisory group
The committee meets again November 14 at the Country Inn & Suites in Portland.
The exchange is governed by a nine-member board appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber and approved by the Oregon Senate. The consumer advisory committee will provide this board with a consumer perspective on exchange issues and is expected to relay the concerns Oregonians have about it moving forward.
This June, Oregon became the 9th state to pass health exchange legislation, and the first with bipartisan support when Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 99, establishing the exchange. It gets under way in January 2014.
For more information on the health insurance exchange and the consumer advisory committee, click here.