SALEM — Time is running out for people who want health insurance in 2019 but do not get coverage through their job or another program. Dec. 15 is the last day to enroll. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace has five tips for Oregonians who need to get or renew coverage and financial assistance. The marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov.
Tip No. 1: Don’t assume you make too much to get help paying for your plan. Families of four making about $100,000 a year or less may qualify. The most single people can make and qualify is about $48,000. The income guidelines rise every year, so even if you have not been eligible for subsidies in the past, try again this year. Start at OregonHealthCare.gov.
Tip No. 2: Get free, local help enrolling. Licensed insurance agents and certified community partners are ready to help you. Agents and partners are experts on the HealthCare.gov application for financial assistance. They can also guide you through your health plan options before you enroll. Choose an agent or partner in the directory at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp, or call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll free).
Tip No. 3: Look beyond the sticker prices. More than 70 percent of people who got coverage through HealthCare.gov last year also qualified for financial assistance. That means their coverage cost them less than the full premium. On average, they saved $421 each month off their premium. The best way to find out how much you might pay once financial help is factored in is to apply for coverage. If you want an estimate first, visit HealthCare.gov/see-plans and answer a few screening questions.
Tip No. 4: Read the fine print on deductibles. Sometimes health insurance shoppers wince when they see the deductibles that come with health plans. Deductibles are usually the amount a person with insurance has to pay for care before the health plan kicks in. The good news is that deductibles do not apply to everything. Even a plan with a deductible will cover eligible preventive care for no extra cost. Plus, all Oregon plans on HealthCare.gov with “Standard Silver” in the plan name, and some others, cover in-network office visits even if you have not paid the deductible. You pay only your co-payment for those visits and not the full cost of the visit. Check for those details when you shop, or work with an insurance agent who can look them up for you.
Tip No. 5: Don’t miss the deadline. The deadline to enroll is Dec. 15. If you miss it, you may go a year without health insurance. Avoid the risk and get started at OregonHealthCare.gov.