BEND, OR -- Health insurance open enrollment will continue through January for 2016 coverage. However, you must sign up by today (Dec. 15) to prevent a lapse in coverage. Jason Epple, with Century Insurance in Bend, tells KBND News rates have gone up for most Oregon carriers. "It's a real difficult time right now in the health insurance industry. I know rates have gone way, way up and the cost of the Affordable Healthcare Act has increased the cost of health insurance coverage. And it's going to continue to go up."
Moda increased rates significantly for 2016, after suffering big losses this year. Epple says Moda received a large share of the state's newly insured, but many hadn't seen a doctor for a while and the company paid out much more than it took in. "Whenever you have a 25-35% increase, like with Moda - Moda had probably 90% of the individual market in the state of Oregon and had to take a very large increase. The other carriers - Providence, Regence and PacificSource - they're great carriers as well, and they're not significantly less than Moda; so everyone is really quite close."
Epple recommends customers study plans before enrolling. "Everybody out there needs to take a more active role in understanding their health insurance. We've all been forced into this, so you need to understand your health plan. You need to like your carrier, because you're going to be spending a lot of money. Carriers have a little bit different tweaks to their plans so finding that plan that's the best fit for you, it's not easy but it's now more important than ever." Some insurers will automatically enroll you into a plan similar to what you had this year if you don't sign up yourself.
Visit Healthcare.Gov or contact your insurance agent to sign up. Those enrolled by today will have coverage on January first.