Oregon's Health Exchange Director Resigns

January 3, 2014

Rocky King, Cover Oregon's executive director, gave notice of his resignation on Jan. 1, clearing the way for a permanent replacement.

King announced his medical leave on Dec. 2, after which Oregon Health Authority Director Bruce Goldberg took over the post on an interim basis. King at the time cited an undisclosed medical condition that had already cost him significant time off work in the previous two years.

His formal resignation takes effect March 5. The decision does not come as as surprise, as King had acknowledged last month that a permanent replacement might be needed. However, it means the fledgling health exchange is in the market for new leader. In addition to managing Cover Oregon's internal operations, King dealt with lawmakers, reporters and insurance executives -- a task that became increasingly difficult as the exchange website's difficulties worsened.

The website still has not enrolled anyone, though roughly 40,000 have enrolled using the exchange's paper applications, and more than 100,000 have enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan using a system set up by the state in August to bypass the exchange.

King, 68, said he is considering surgery that could cost him more time off work, and even if he could return to the job he's not sure for how long that would be. The decision was made in part to let the board move on and select a permanent replacement. Under federal rules, as long as he was on leave "they are not in a position where they can move forward and recruit," he said. "This frees up the board to do really good planning."

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