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Health coverage basics: what, why, and when?

What is health coverage and why is it important?

Health coverage is an important umbrella to protect you from life's surprises. But it does more than help with the unexpected. Having coverage can help keep you healthy. Signing up for coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace means you'll have more than the basic. Your coverage will include 10 essential health benefits and won't be turned away because of any pre-existing health condition.

Maybe you haven't considered health coverage to be a necessity because you rarely get sick. Consider this: Health coverage can help you when life throws a curve ball. If an emergency arises, you find out you're pregnant, or you develop a chronic condition. It's important to consider the what-ifs in life, because some things aren't predictable.

You may want to spend that extra $100 a month on coffee, but stop and think about what is better for your health and the health of your family. Health coverage through the Marketplace includes free preventive care. These are a long list of screenings to detect concerns early and immunizations that can keep you going. Coverage also protects you financially in case something happens, because no one wants medical debt as an obstacle to life's bigger goals.

While you may think all of this is too expensive, you might be surprised! Enrolling through the Marketplace means you have access to financial help for both your monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs. At least seven in 10 Oregonians qualify for savings, which means costs may be lower than you think. You can find out how much you can save and what plans are available on our website.

When can I enroll?

Open enrollment is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. It is the time when most people can shop and enroll in coverage to start Jan. 1 of the next year. If you miss open enrollment and you don't have coverage, you will not have coverage for the new year. So, mark your calendars. You don't want to miss it!

What if I need coverage mid-year?

If you experience a change outside the open enrollment period, you may be able to enroll through a special enrollment period (SEP). These changes are called qualifying life events. They include things such as getting married, birth, adoption or placement of a child in your home, moving, or involuntarily losing coverage. If you qualify for a SEP, you will have 60 days after the date of your life event to shop and enroll. You may need to submit proof of the change.

Not sure if you qualify? We have a network of licensed insurance agents and community partner organizations who are standing by to answer all of your questions. They can help you with the application and enrollment process, too. The best part is, this help is totally free! Find local help on our website.