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How 2016 Health Care Insurance Affects Families & Individuals

It’s November, which means the days are shorter and shopping lists are longer. Turkey, fixings, Pumpkin spice, holiday wreaths, stocking delights…Health insurance?

A health care plan may not usually top your holiday shopping list, but for the 10 million people who are expected to obtain 2016 coverage, it’s open enrollment season. This means now is the time to shop around, renew your coverage or switch to a new plan.

A new year means new visits to your Portland doctor. The open enrollment period is your chance to get insured or, if you already are, to make sure your current coverage continues to meet your needs in the coming year. Here’s what you need to know about the  open enrollment period:


What are the deadlines for open enrollment?

If you need to sign up for insurance or think you might want to switch plans, make sure you apply by one of the deadlines below to ensure coverage for 2016. Those who miss the open enrollment deadline will have to wait another year to enroll or change plans—unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Important dates include:

  • 1—Open enrollment begins for coverage starting as soon as Jan. 1, 2016.
  • 15—Last day to enroll or change plans for coverage beginning Jan. 1.
  • 15—Last day to enroll or change plans for coverage beginning Feb. 1.
  • 31—Open enrollment ends. Last day to enroll or change plans for coverage beginning March 1.


What is a Special Enrollment Period?

Families and individuals have the right to sign up for health coverage within 60 days of life events that involve a change in family status, such as marriage, the birth of a child or the loss of other health coverage. If you need to sign up for health insurance after open enrollment ends, visit to find out whether you qualify for special enrollment or call Willamette Valley Benefits at 503.659.5566.


Do I need to do anything if I already have coverage?

Even if you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace health plan, it’s smart to shop around. Health insurance rates are expected to increase this year, so this is your opportunity to switch plans if you’re concerned about your premiums increasing.


How much will I save on insurance next year?

One thing that’s important to note: Your savings on health insurance purchased through the Marketplace will be determined by your expected income for 2016—not your income from last year.

If you have questions regarding your health insurance coverage, please see our friends at Willamette Valley Benefits. They understand the plan coverage and can help guide you through the process. They can be reached at 503.659.5566.


Photo by Dr.Farouk via CC License 

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