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Kitzhaber to discuss health insurance enrollment

PORTLAND, (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber plans on Thursday to discuss the latest enrollment numbers for Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange.

New figures released this week show that Cover Oregon has so far enrolled about 20,000 people in private insurance for January coverage.

That’s far below original projections.

In addition, more than 35,000 Oregonians who applied through Cover Oregon joined the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid.

And more than 114,000 people enrolled directly in the state health plan by using a streamlined process that bypasses Cover Oregon. The low private insurance enrollment numbers have been blamed on the online enrollment system’s failure to go live.

Oregonians have had to rely exclusively on paper applications and Cover Oregon hired or reassigned nearly 500 people to process applications by hand.

In December, the state scaled down its low level projections of 31,500 Oregonians enrolled in private health care by January 2014 to 20,700 people.

Fewer people have been enrolling in other states as well.

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