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Open enrollment window for ACA insurance upcoming

Kathleen Ellyn

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on October 10, 2017 3:22PM

Individuals who do not have insurance coverage through their employer have only six weeks to get coverage through Marketplace Insurance plans. That six weeks begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. These deadlines apply regardless of income.

“The only time you can sign up for Marketplace insurance plans is during this six-week window,” advised Vixen Radford-Wecks, outreach and enrollment specialist for Northeast Oregon Network. “Originally you had from October through March. Each year that time slot has gotten smaller.”

That narrow window of opportunity was not heavily advertised this year, and further restrictions include an inability to enroll online on weekends. You can apply online at healthcare.gov. Have information on your household size, address, Social Security numbers and birth dates, W2 forms or pay stubs and estimated household income for 2018 ready when you begin the process.

A checklist of items you will need to have is also available on the website.

“We’re still under the Affordable Care Act mandate to have health insurance, and you will still have a tax penalty if you don’t,” Radford-Wecks warned. “There are also changes in the policies available in Wallowa County, and if you choose to just roll over your insurance from the year before, you may be surprised when you pay more. It’s really important that people investigate their policies.”

Radford-Wecks is available to assist one on one in understanding the process or completing forms. To arrange an appointment, call 541-398-2539.

Working couples covered under the Affordable Care Act can expect to pay $800 to $900 per person for insurance.

“I am still able to refer people to health care co-ops such as Christian Health Coverage,” Radford-Wecks said.

There are four such co-ops in operation in Wallowa County. They are not health insurance, and each operates differently and has various criteria for inclusion, including religious faith. Co-ops do not have to meet the same criteria as qualified health plans, but they do allow people to avoid the tax penalties.


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