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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Federal Government Approves Health Insurance Waiver For Oregon

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

The federal government has approved a key waiver that will allow Oregon to proceed with a program designed to blunt the cost of health insurance plans purchased on the individual market.

The waiver was granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was announced by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

It allows the state to roll-out a so-called “reinsurance program.” It works by spreading the risk of high-cost claims so that all insurance companies take an equal share of the risk of expensive claims.

The reinsurance program was included in a sweeping health care bill narrowly approved by Oregon lawmakers in June. Portions of that bill go before voters in January as Measure 101, but the reinsurance program is not part of that referendum.

The federal waiver is a provision of the Affordable Care Act. It comes with approximately $30 million in federal funding, according to DCBS.