While open enrollment lasts through Jan. 31, 2017, Oregonians need to apply by Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, to ensure they have coverage on Jan. 1, 2017. Staying enrolled in health insurance is important to protect people from unexpected costs or problems getting the health care they need.
Oregonians can sign up, renew, or change their health insurance plans at HealthCare.gov.
Most consumers who already have insurance through HealthCare.gov or directly through an insurance company will be re-enrolled in their same plan if they do not act by that date. Even Oregonians with existing health plans should log into their HealthCare.gov accounts to make sure their applications are up-to-date and that their plans are still right for them. After all, plans and prices — and people’s health needs and incomes — can change from year to year.
“While we are pleased with the increase in enrollment so far, we know there are still Oregonians who do not have coverage and others who have coverage but are not taking advantage of subsidies available to them through HealthCare.gov,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which houses the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Financial help can go a long way in making coverage more affordable.”
Of the nearly 132,000 Oregonians enrolled in individual coverage on the Marketplace in 2016, about 95,000 of those consumers received financial help. The average premium tax credit they received was $250 per month. Help with out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, is also available on some silver-level plans for those who qualify. Having insurance coverage also helps you avoid a potential penalty on your 2017 taxes.
Oregon has a network of insurance agents and community organizations ready to help people enroll. You can find an agent or community partner in your area by going to http://www.oregonhealthcare.gov/get-help.html or calling the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).
DCBS also provided grants to 35 agents to create drop-in enrollment centers during open enrollment. These centers will be ready to help during the entire open enrollment period during normal business hours, with some extended hours. You can find the list of enrollment centers at http://healthcare.oregon.gov/Pages/agent-storefronts.aspx.
DCBS has developed a tool to help consumers who want to compare plans on their own. It is available at http://dfr.oregon.gov/gethelp/ins-help/health/Pages/ind-health-compare-tool.aspx. To start shopping for plans, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (toll-free) (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). Open enrollment is under way as more Oregonians than ever have insurance coverage, thanks to expansion of the Oregon Health Plan and subsidies to help pay for commercial health plans. Oregon’s uninsured rate stands at 5 percent.