Health Insurance for the Do-it-Yourselfer Starts at


PORTLAND — Oregon is rich with innovators. However, the entrepreneurs, freelancers, artists, performers, and small businesses that keep the economy growing don’t always get health insurance through their jobs.

Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 is open enrollment for people who buy their own health insurance. It’s the time of year anyone can sign up for coverage and apply for the subsidies that help people fit insurance into their budgets.

People can meet with counselors to learn more about options, or visit to find health plan options and estimate subsidies.

The place to start is, run by the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Last year, more than 148,000 people in the state got coverage through the Marketplace.

One of those Oregonians was Stephanie S., who told the Marketplace, “My husband and I both own a small business together. Since we left the corporate world, we needed to find our own health care solutions.”

“We eventually went to the website, and was able to filter through, answer the questions, and got to the one package that fit our needs the best.”

Anyone can go to to find health plan options and estimate subsidies.

The site shows the health plans available in your area, and details the co-pays, deductibles, and benefits in those plans. The health insurance sold through the Marketplace is individual and family coverage offered by private companies, such as Bridgespan, Kaiser, Moda, PacificSource, and Providence. also can help you estimate your subsidy. People without job-based coverage, and who are not eligible for the Oregon Health Plan, are the most likely to qualify. Subsidies make a big difference to those who qualify.

Karl B. is a home-remodeling contractor who received coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

Karl is an independent contractor receiving affordable health care coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

“My subsidy is about $250 a month,” Karl said. “In the end, I think I’m paying somewhere between $100 and $200 a month, and that’s to me a great price point.”

For 2019, more than 74 percent of Oregonians who enrolled through the Marketplace received subsidies. That financial assistance varies with a person’s income; larger subsidies go to people with lower incomes. The best way to estimate a subsidy is to go to

Oregonians can apply for subsidies and enroll online on their own, or they can get free, local help with the application. Insurance agents and community-based advocates providing that assistance are listed at

Open enrollment lasts until Dec. 15 for 2020 coverage.

Hear more stories of Marketplace coverage.

About Author

Elizabeth Cronen is communications and legislative manager for the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Her task is to make complicated health care details understandable for people getting coverage and trying to fit that coverage into their budgets.

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