Displaced by wildfires, disasters
Oregon is currently facing far more evacuations and displacements than recorded history has shown. As such, many Oregonians applying for coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicare plans must take note of how to accurately report their address on the application.
It is important for those displaced by wildfires to be aware of how and where they may retrieve their mail. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has issued
information about relocated operations due to wildfires.
Use current address
When completing the Marketplace application, consumers should use their
current address, based on where they intend to reside.
- If they have not officially moved, they may continue to use the address where they intend to reside.
- If they are displaced because they no longer have a permanent address, they may select that they do not have a permanent physical address and provide a mailing address for contact purposes.
- It should not be necessary to provide proof of address.
- Current enrollees should update their current address, if their permanent address has changed. Plan options may be different if they are residing in a new area.
Coverage and COVID-19 related costs
Under an agreement between the state and health insurance companies, there is no co-payments, co-insurance, or deductibles related to COVID-19 for testing at an in-network provider, in-network urgent care center, or emergency room, or COVID-19 immunization when it becomes available.
Lab and other services: Individual and small group market issuers are generally required to include laboratory services as a category of essential health benefits. Coverage for a specific diagnostic or laboratory service can vary by plan, so check with your health insurance company about its coverage for lab tests and related services for diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. Standard cost sharing may apply. This is also true for your health plan's coverage for physician and hospital services related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
Telehealth: Telehealth services or home health visits may already be covered by many health insurance companies. You should check with your health insurance company to determine whether these services are covered and what you will pay.
Enrolling in coverage: If you are not currently enrolled in coverage, you can see if you qualify for a special enrollment period. As a reminder, federal law and regulations provide protections against pre-existing condition exclusions in health insurance coverage. If you are eligible, health plans must permit you to enroll, regardless of health status, age, gender, or other factors that might predict the use of health services. Marketplace plans cannot terminate coverage due to a change in health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
Marketplace enrollment due to national emergency, major disaster
Oregonians affected by the wildfires can use the federal emergency declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take advantage of an exceptional circumstances special enrollment period (SEP). FEMA declared the Oregon wildfires a federal emergency on Sept. 15, 2020.
Oregonians will have up to 60 days from the end of the FEMA-designated incident period to select a new health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov or make changes to their existing health insurance plan. People who experienced a life change are eligible for a standard special enrollment period that allows them to sign up for a plan 60 days before or 60 days after their life change to enroll in a plan. Examples of a life change include loss of coverage due to loss of employment, marriage, addition of a new family member, gaining lawful immigration status, and moving homes.
Oregonians who were eligible for a standard special enrollment period, but missed this window due to the Oregon wildfires, can use the FEMA SEP to enroll in a plan. Applications are being accepted at HealthCare.gov if the life change is a loss in coverage and at 800-318-2596 (toll-free) for all other life changes.
- The FEMA SEP due to the Oregon wildfires is available for people who qualified for a special enrollment period from Sept. 8 through up to 60 days after the FEMA emergency has ended. The declaration of emergency for the Oregon wildfires was issued Sept. 15, 2020, and is still active. Oregonians still have at the very earliest until Nov. 15, 2020, to use the FEMA SEP.
- The FEMA SEP due to COVID-19 is available for people who qualified for a special enrollment period from Jan. 1, 2020, through up to 60 days after the national public health emergency has ended. The current national declaration is set to end in late October.
For more information, visit
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Medicare beneficiary information
Medicare enrollees should update their address with both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and any additional plan insurers that they are enrolled with, including Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug plans, and Medigap plans. Medicare beneficiaries can update their address with the SSA:
- By calling 800-722-1213 (toll-free) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- By visiting the
You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, such as if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called
special enrollment periods (SEPs). There are rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP.
If you were affected by the Oregon wildfires you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that gives you an additional opportunity to add, drop or change your Medicare health and prescription drug plan. You must have been eligible for another election period and were unable to make an election because of the wildfires or COVID-19. More information is available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website.
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Medicare.gov offers guidance on getting care and prescription drugs during an emergency.