Report: Making Health Care Work for Oregon

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Tips for Oregon consumers deciding whether to keep their individual health insurance plan or switch to a new plan for 2014
Released by: OSPIRG

Many consumers who buy their own health insurance face a big decision right now. Should you renew your existing plan, or switch to a new one?

It’s an especially important decision for consumers whose insurance company is giving them the option to stay in a “pre-ACA plan” – one that falls below minimum standards under the Affordable Care Act – for another year.

Here are our tips for consumers, and a checklist to help you make the decision that’s right for you:

TOP TIPS

  1. SHOP AROUND! Now that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, you can safely shop around. In addition to looking at your existing health insurer’s plans, check out the new health insurance marketplace for Oregon consumers, Cover Oregon. Plans range from catastrophic plans with high deductibles to plans with fuller coverage. Cover Oregon’s website cannot yet process online applications, but you can check out the insurance options there, and download a paper application. Visit CoverOregon.com or call (855) 268-3767.
  2. Apply at Cover Oregon to see if you can pay less, or get more for your money. You might qualify for financial help that could lower your premium or out-of-pocket costs. Find out by completing a paper application at Cover Oregon. Go to CoverOregon.com to download an application, or call (855) 268-3767 for more information.
  3. Get help comparing your options and applying. In addition to insurance agents and brokers, specially trained people such as navigators, application assisters and certified application counselors are available to help at no cost to you. You can find people in your area at CoverOregon.com/agent/find.
  4. Understand what you’re getting into. Before renewing your plan or picking a different one, make sure you understand the costs, what’s covered and what’s excluded, and what providers are included in the plan’s network. Use our checklist for help.
  5. Know you have until March 31 to sign up for coverage at Cover Oregon. Even if you renew your current individual plan now, you can still switch to a new Cover Oregon plan as long as you do so by the end of March of 2014.

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