SALEM, Ore. -- The deadline is near for people who want health insurance in 2018, but don't get coverage through their job or another program. Open enrollment at HealthCare.gov ends at midnight on Dec. 15, about two weeks away.
"If you haven't focused on your health insurance yet, now is the time to do it," said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. "A licensed insurance agent or an expert from a certified community group can help you enroll, and their assistance is free."
Oregonians can find insurance agencies and organizations offering free enrollment help listed at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp.
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, has these tips for consumers:
* See if you qualify for help paying for your coverage, even if you did not qualify last year. The income qualifications adjust upward each year, and rising premiums can mean greater assistance for those who qualify for subsidies. Go to HealthCare.gov and start an application to find out if you can save money.
* Be aware of the Dec. 15 deadline in Oregon. There are other deadlines for insurance customers in California and Washington, but here in Oregon, the last day for most people to get individual or family coverage is Dec. 15.
* If you already have a 2017 health plan through HealthCare.gov, go back to your account to update your income information and shop for a 2018 plan. You may be counting on HealthCare.gov to automatically re-enroll you in coverage for next year. That works as a backup plan; however, there may be plans that are better for you and your budget. Plan prices and benefits change each year, and your income or household size may have changed, too. Log in to your HealthCare.gov account, update your information, and look at the 2018 plans to find the best fit for you or your family.
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, can answer general questions about enrollment and connect people to in-person enrollment assistance. Call 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free) or visit OregonHealthCare.gov.