image

health as it happens

More people sign up on the Oregon health insurance marketplace - OPB News

The window to enroll in Oregon's health insurance marketplace is open until Jan. 15, 2022.

The window to enroll in Oregon's health insurance marketplace is open until Jan. 15, 2022.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

More Oregonians have signed up for private health insurance through the state-run exchange this year than had at this point a year ago.

Heading into 2022, officials say 142,783 Oregonians have enrolled so far on the Oregon health insurance marketplace. That’s a slight uptick from 141,089 at the same time last year for 2021 coverage.

The marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, helps people get insurance when they don’t get it through work — and they don’t qualify for something like the Oregon Health Plan.

Oregon marketplace spokeswoman, Amy Coven, said more people are signing up this year because of the American Rescue Plan. It was passed in the spring and is aimed at helping people get through the pandemic.

“The American Rescue Plan actually eliminated the upper income limit to qualify for financial assistance. So now more people than ever before qualify for assistance,” Coven said.

More than 75% of Oregonians who signed up for health insurance in 2021 received financial help.

“The American Rescue Plan has made health coverage more affordable for people in Oregon and we are seeing people are taking advantage of the extra savings,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the marketplace. “People shouldn’t wait — you must sign up by January 15th for coverage.”

Oregonians can preview plans by answering questions at OregonHealthCare.gov. Rates vary based on a number of factors. For instance, a 40-something couple in the Portland area making $70,000 can get coverage for $300 per month. A 26-year-old living in Eugene making $28,000 can get coverage for as little as $1 per month.

About 7 percent of Oregonians didn’t have health insurance in 2019. That’s slightly lower than the national average of 9 percent. Massachusetts was lowest in the nation according to recent figures, at 3 percent, and Texas was highest at 18 percent.