(Salem) – Job loss due to COVID-19 has also caused many Oregonians to lose their health insurance. The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace can help them find new coverage, often with financial help.
“Losing your job or having your hours reduced doesn’t mean you need to go without health insurance,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Marketplace, a state-level partner to HealthCare.gov that helps that helps people who don’t have health insurance through work or other programs purchase insurance.
More than 300,000 Oregonians have filed for unemployment insurance since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Oregon. For those who have lost insurance through their job, the path to coverage is available through several programs: Marketplace coverage, Oregon Health Plan, COBRA, state continuation, and Medicare. Navigating the process can be confusing, but the Marketplace has a network of community partners and insurance agents who are trained to help Oregonians figure out which resources they qualify for and how to apply.
“We are here to help Oregonians get the health insurance they need,” said Flowers. “The Marketplace was designed to help with situations exactly like this.”
Those who have recently lost a job or insurance through their employer, have experienced a change in income, or had other major life changes are eligible to sign up for health insurance plans through the Marketplace for a 60-day special enrollment period after a qualifying event such as job loss.
Community partners and insurance agents can help via phone and virtually so Oregonians don’t have to navigate the process alone. There are also tools at OregonHealthCare.gov that allow people to shop for plans using their information to look at the cost of plans and see if they qualify for subsidies.
In many cases, Marketplace plans may be more cost effective than COBRA coverage, but if someone opts to enroll in COBRA, they are not eligible for a special enrollment period for Marketplace coverage.
“Our community partners and insurance agents can help you weigh your options and find the solution that is best for you and your family,” said Flowers. “We can make the path to insurance easier in the midst of difficult time.”
Receiving financial help to make coverage through the Marketplace more affordable is not part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s public charge rule, which can make it more difficult for immigrants to receive citizenship. Anyone can sign up for Marketplace health insurance through OregonHealthCare.gov without fear of affecting their immigration status.