By Chris Woodard
TUALATIN, Ore. (KOIN) - One day after being grilled by lawmakers over the dysfunctional Cover Oregon website, Executive Director Rocky King was back at work Thursday and some improvements were announced.
KOIN 6 News confirmed Cover Oregon has added dozens of extra fax lines to handle the paper applications being sent in by fax.
On Wednesday, King said they had received about 24,000 paper applications. That number now is closer to 30,000. But many people complained of busy signals when trying to send in their application by fax.
Michael Cox, the Cover Oregon spokesperson, said their office has one fax number but it's an electronic interface that can handle more than one call at once. When a fax comes in it takes two seconds per page to be transferred into the server.
When the paper applications began, Cover Oregon was only able to take 500 applications per day. It was upped to 1000, and this week increased to 1500 per day.
Cox said he's absolutely confident Cover Oregon has the capacity to deal with the applications.
"At this point we don't receive 1500 faxes a day, and we're going to bump that up even more in the coming days."
They’ve already “processed the eligibility” on 3,500 individuals – half of them qualified for the Oregon Health Plan so their applications will be sent over to OHA and they’ll automatically be enrolled.
The other half will qualify for a commercial health plan, will have their approved application mailed back to them and will need to make a plan choice, sign and send it in.
Leslie Begley, like thousands of other Oregonians, is in limbo with her health insurance. Her plan expires at the end of the year and she's mailed the application to Cover Oregon but hasn't heard back. When she calls, she said, no one has answers.
"I'm just getting really frustrated because of the time crunch," she told KOIN 6 News. "I have prescriptions I need to take every month, they get filled every month. I'm diabetic. I need to get my insulin covered. I mean, I'm just, I'm stressing out."
Applications are due by December 4. KOIN 6 News was told Thursday all applications in by that time will be processed in time for people to enroll by the January 1 deadline.
Late Thursday afternoon, Governor Kitzhaber's office announced he will hold a 10:15 a.m. news conference in Portland on Friday to announce additional resources, support and accountability for Cover Oregon.http://www.koin.com/news/oregon/cover-oregon-adds-phone-lines