I just turned 26 and I'm getting dumped from my parents' health insurance in January. (Merry Christmas to me!) Is there an actual person who could help me understand the different health plans, costs and discounts, if any? It's just me, and my salary's about $21,000 a year. Help! And when's the deadline to apply?
— B.W., Medford
Season's greetings, B.W.! We'll start with your last question first: The health insurance marketplace's open enrollment period for 2018 is happening now. You've got until Dec. 15 to enroll.
You make more than what qualifies for the Oregon Health Plan, the state's low-income Medicaid program, so you'll want to talk to a licensed health insurance agent.
A licensed agent can explain the health plan options and tax credits for which you're eligible. They're also the only ones who can advise you on a plan that's right for you, according to the state's OregonHealthCare.gov website.
A directory lists about 20 agents in Jackson County who can help you buy an insurance plan.
We would advise you cross-check Google and Yelp once you find an agent on the state's official directory, however. When we tried to reach one of the two agents listed as grant-funded "partner agents" in our area, the numbers had been disconnected.
— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.