As of Nov. 1, Oregonians can now sign up, renew or change their health insurance plans at the state site HealthCare.gov.

Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and goes through Jan. 31, 2016. It is the time of the year to change plans or to buy a plan and avoid a potential penalty on 2016 taxes.

“Even if you already have insurance, take some time during open enrollment to look at all of your options through the marketplace,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). “Prices and plans — as well as your health needs — may have changed considerably. You also may qualify for financial help.”

Financial help is available for many people if they enroll through HealthCare.gov. Depending on their income, they may qualify for tax credits to help pay their monthly premium and assistance with out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays. Of the approximately 107,000 Oregonians who enrolled through HealthCare.gov for 2015, more than 77,000 received a premium tax credit averaging $199 per month.

Oregon has a network of insurance agents and community organizations ready to help people enroll. You can find an agent or community partner in your area by going to www.oregonhealthcare.gov/get-help.html or by calling the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).

While open enrollment lasts through Jan. 31, 2016, you need to apply by Dec. 15, 2015, if you want to ensure you have coverage on Jan. 1, 2016. Most consumers who already have insurance through HealthCare.gov or directly through an insurance company will be re-enrolled in their same plan if they do not act by Dec. 15.

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