Governor Kitzhaber appoints Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corporation interim Director
(SALEM, Ore.) — Governor Kitzhaber announced today that he has selected an interim director for the new Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corporation.
Howard "Rocky" King will serve as interim director for 120 days, until a newly seated board appoints a director. Mr. King has been part of the exchange design group for the Oregon Health Authority and has a long background in managing health and insurance programs for the state.
“Mr. King's deep experience managing health and insurance programs will serve Oregon consumers and small businesses well,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “His leadership will ensure Oregon’s Health Insurance Exchange creates a transparent and competitive market that supports our goal to provide better health care at lower cost.”
The exchange corporation will be governed by a board of directors appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. The nomination process for the board will be opened next week
Governor Kitzhaber has charged Mr. King with putting into place the business infrastructure, processes and staffing of the newly created public corporation. He will support the Board of Director's work in developing a business plan for the health insurance exchange that will be presented to the legislature during the February 2012 legislative session. Mr. King will also work with the Oregon Health Authority and the Department on Consumer and Business Services to identify linkages between the Exchange and work being done to improve the health care delivery system with an eye towards better care and lower costs, along with the state's role in facilitating those improvements.
Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange was approved with overwhelming bi-partisan support by the Oregon legislature in June. It will offer Oregon small businesses and individuals the opportunity to purchase quality, affordable health care coverage in a transparent and competitive market. The exchange is scheduled to begin offering coverage in January, 2014.
Prior to his current position, King served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor on Health Reform with the Department of Consumer and Business Services.
For over 20 years, Mr. King served as the Administrator of the Office of Private Health Partnerships (OPHP) and the Oregon Medical Insurance Pool (OMIP). Additionally, he was responsible for SHIBA, the Senior Health Insurance Benefit Assistance Program. These agencies were created by the Oregon Legislature to improve Oregonians' access to health insurance. The OPHP administers the Family Health Insurance Assistance Program, which subsidizes private market health insurance premiums for low income working Oregonians, and works to help small businesses find affordable health benefit plans. He also administered OMIP which serves those who are turned down for coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.
Mr. King received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, has a Master of Science Degree from Columbia University School of Social Work and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the Columbia University School of Business Administration, New York. He held several managerial positions with the state's Children's Services Division and was a Second Vice- President at Smith Barney, Harris & Upham, Inc., in Portland, before returning to state government in 1990. Mr. King is a member of the Public Employees Benefit Board, serves on the Health Insurance Reform Advisory Committee of the Department of Business and Consumer Services, has served as Chair and a board member of the National Association of Comprehensive Health Insurance Pools, and has been a member of several technical work groups on the federal level focusing on health care reform.
Christine Miles, 503-559-8795
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324