EUGENE, Ore. — As part of the Affordable Care Act, the new online insurance marketplace, Cover Oregon, begins open enrollment next week, and there is a lot of confusion about how to enroll.
Changing to a new health care format can be daunting, especially for those who’ve never gone through the process before. But Lane County health leaders told KEZI 9 News that if you break it down to a step-by-step process, it’s not as complicated.
The first thing you need to know is open enrollment begins on Oct. 1. But if you’re expecting to pick a plan on your own that day, think again.
“If you want to apply for Cover Oregon starting Oct. 1, you will have to go through a community partner or an insurance agent. For the first two weeks, Cover Oregon is only going to be able to entered through one of those two groups,” said Kristi Wedmore, Community Service Provider.
Wedmore says that’s because the program is going through a trial period to make sure all the kinks are out. After those two weeks, you can enroll on your own. Lane County Health Spokesman Jason Davis says there are a number of resources to help break down the enrollment process.
“One resource that we want direct people to is healthcare.gov,” Davis said.
Davis says the government website gives an easy breakdown of the new affordable health care plan.
Once individual enrollment opens, all you have to do is log on to CoverOregon.com and you can use a calculator on the site to help estimate what your premium cost will be. That cost will vary depending on your age, income and number of people in your family.
Davis says the process is much like filling out your taxes.
The new federal health care mandate can be confusing. Even if you have already insurance, you might be seeing some changes.
“Health care is changing pretty dramatically, especially for those of us or those individuals who have private health care or they pay for their own health care,” Davis said.
That’s why Davis says it’s important to pay attention to any notices you get in the mail from your current insurance provider. If you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
“I wouldn’t say that this process is inherently confusing or that the Affordable Care Act is necessarily confusing. It’s that for years we have gone down the same road, and now we’re taking a different path, and that’s hard,” Davis said.
Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014. But your deadline to enroll isn’t until March 31, 2014. After that you’ll face a fine of $95 or one percent of your income.