Margaret Huntley Last Updated On: August 11, 2023

Find Low Cost Health Insurance in Oregon

Fun fact: Oregon is home to over 7,000 bridges, including 53 covered bridges. Covered bridges aren’t just beautiful landmarks; they help shelter you as you pass under. And just like covered bridges protect Oregon drivers, so do the many options for health insurance in The Beaver State.

If you call Oregon home, you deserve great healthcare. Keep reading, because we’ve pulled together everything you should know about health insurance options in Oregon. 

Great health awaits! Let’s explore your options.

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Table of Contents

Private Health Insurance

You can purchase private health insurance through the Marketplace in Oregon. These plans are regulated by the state and are required to have a set of essential benefits. Also referred to as individual health insurance, these private plans can be purchased outside of the Marketplace but then you won’t receive any subsidies or cost-sharing reductions, so it’s better to purchase on the exchange.

Private health insurance is grouped into metal tiers, including bronze, silver, and gold. These tiers don’t tell you if one plan is better than the other; rather, they tell you roughly how much coverage you get versus out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay.

Let’s quickly review each tier:

  • Bronze: You’ll pay the lowest premiums in this tier, but the highest out-of-pocket costs. You’ll get 60-65% of costs covered, and pay the rest. Bronze plans are best for those that rarely need medical care, which is why it makes sense to pay lower premiums for most of the year. 
  • Silver: These plans come with moderate premiums and moderate out-of-pocket costs. You’ll get 70% of your costs covered with these plans. The good thing about Silver plans is that they’re the only tier available for cost-sharing subsidies, which means they can often end up being the most affordable plan with more coverage.
  • Gold: These plans come with the highest premiums, but lowest out-of-pocket costs. 80% of your medical costs will be covered. Gold plans are best for those who have recurring healthcare needs. 
  • Catastrophic: These plans aren’t available to everyone. You need to be in good health and under the age of 30, or you have a financial hardship to qualify. Catastrophic plans cover the bare minimum, so they’re often not the best coverage for most people. 

Note, you can only change your plan or enroll in a new plan during open enrollment. This runs from November 1st to January 15th each year. If you want your new coverage to start by January 1st, be sure to choose a plan and enroll by December 15th, or else your coverage will start February 15th.

You don’t always have to wait until open enrollment though. If you’ve recently had a qualifying life event, like a marriage, birth, divorce, job loss, etc., then you may be able to switch your plan early.


If you qualify for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, then you’ll pay the least in coverage. These programs are designed to get you affordable health insurance in Oregon. Let’s explore the difference between programs:

  • Medicare: This is health insurance for anyone over the age of 65, or those who qualify because of health conditions like ALS or End-Stage Renal Disease. You automatically become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65 and are fined for not enrolling on time, unless you have adequate health insurance still from another source, like your employer. Medicare is broken into four parts:
    • Part A: Hospital coverage
    • Part B: Doctor’s visits, outpatient coverage, medical equipment
    • Part C: Medicare Advantage, Medicare-approved plans from a private insurer that bundles Parts A, B, D and often vision, dental and more. 
    • Part D: Prescription drug coverage

You can choose which parts of Medicare to enroll in and you can also double up with additional coverage even though you’re enrolled in Medicare. Keep in mind, Medicare is just for individuals and not for families.

Pro tip: Medicare and retirement often go hand in hand. But there’s more to retirement than just sorting out your health insurance. Grab our free guide to retirement planning to make sure you’ve got everything covered, whether retirement is coming up or even as you’re settling into work-free days.

  • Medicaid: In Oregon, Medicaid is referred to as Oregon Health Plan (OHP). This low cost health insurance in Oregon is designed to get free coverage to those who would struggle to pay for it otherwise. To qualify for OHP, you must meet certain income and residency requirements, or you can qualify based on your age and disability status. You can apply for OHP at any time of the year.

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Many Oregonians receive healthcare coverage from their employer, which is a great option. Employers often subsidize part of the premiums for you, making it more affordable for you. However, this option doesn’t give you any control over the health insurance plan you get. 

If you lose your job, you can retain your health insurance coverage through COBRA for 18-36 months afterwards, depending on the conditions surrounding your job loss. This gives you time to find a new job with health insurance or to enroll in a new plan. Keep in mind, your employer no longer subsidizes your premiums, so your costs can increase through COBRA. 

Find out more about employer versus individual plans here.

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Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance is another option available to you, but consider it carefully. It’s great for bridging the gap between plans or between jobs, but it shouldn’t be relied on as a long-term solution. Short-term health insurance is only available from private insurance providers and isn’t regulated by the ACA. These plans also often don’t cover pre-existing conditions, and can end up being pretty pricey. 

If you do need a stop gap, short-term health insurance can get you the coverage you need until open enrollment starts, you get a new job with health insurance, or you hit the age of 65 and qualify for Medicare, all common scenarios for needing short-term health coverage. Keep in mind that Oregon limits the coverage of short-term health insurance for up to three months, including renewals. 

As of 2023, at least three insurance providers in Oregon are offering short-term health insurance plans, so you have options to choose from.

The Average Cost of Health Insurance in Oregon

Health insurance isn’t cheap. But sacrificing coverage isn’t the way to go. Our goal is to help you find affordable health insurance, and the first step is getting a sense of the average costs so you can budget responsibly.

So, what’s the damage? The average cost of health insurance in Oregon is $422 per month for a 40-year-old. This is going to depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Your age and health
  • Your location
  • The plan you choose
  • Job and income

If you’re a healthy individual in your 20s, you can choose a plan with lower premiums to save annually. But if you’re older or have health conditions, you might prefer a plan with more coverage so you can get the care you need. You might also receive cost-sharing reductions based on your income, or you might get health insurance subsidized by your employer. 

If you have a family, you’ll need to factor in a higher cost than paying insurance for just yourself. And if you’re doubling up on insurance plans, you might pay more or less depending on the plans (find out more here). 

Here are some more average costs to help paint a better picture:

  • A 21-year-old on a Bronze plan pays an average of $297 per month, $386 on a Silver plan, and $437 on a Gold plan
  • A 40-year-old on a Bronze plan pays an average of $380 per month, $493 on a Silver plan, and $559 on a Gold plan
  • A 60-year-old on a Bronze plan pays an average of $807 per month, $1,047 on a Silver plan, and $1,186 on a Gold plan

There are many factors that can impact the average costs you’ll pay. Luckily, we have tried-and-true tips for saving on health insurance costs coming up next, because everyone deserves affordable health care.

But if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and get access to free quotes fast by clicking here, so that you can get a better idea of what you’ll pay for health insurance.

How to Find Cheap Health Insurance in Oregon

Health insurance shouldn’t bleed you dry. Let’s explore some of the best tips to save on health insurance costs, so you can get the coverage you need at the price you can afford.

  • Explore your options. Group plans through employers are often the most affordable option, but if that’s not available to you (or your spouse), then ACA plans on the marketplace will be your best bet. Be sure to shop around and don’t assume Gold and Silver plans are out of your budget; if you have recurring medical costs, they can end up being more affordable (especially if you’re eligible for the Silver plan cost-sharing reductions). And of course, you could also be eligible for Medicaid or other government subsidies depending on your income. Find out more tips here.
    • Don’t forget to review your coverage annually to make sure it’s still working for you. Open enrollment is the perfect time to explore your options and see if there’s a better fit, especially since plan costs can change year-to-year; for example, plans increased an average of 6% from 2022 to 2023 in Oregon. 
  • Stay in network. Your insurance provider has negotiated costs for in-network doctors and pharmacies, so it pays to take advantage of them. 
  • Use generic versions of drugs. If it’s an option, ask for the generic version of a prescription drug to avoid paying higher fees for the brand-name version. 
  • Use your preventative care benefits. Too many people skip over preventative care, like vaccines, exams, screenings, etc., but these can save you big in costs down the line. 
  • Prioritize your health. It’s easy to let your health fall to the bottom of your list of priorities, but when you think about how much poor health can cost you, it’s worth prioritizing. Exercise regularly, aim for good sleep every night, eat well, limit alcohol and tobacco, and manage your stress. 
  • Negotiate medical costs. If you have a procedure or appointment coming up, call ahead and figure out exactly what is and isn’t covered by your insurance. Try to negotiate a discount by paying all at once or by paying ahead. 

Everyone deserves health care coverage. The cost of health insurance shouldn’t preclude you from getting coverage. With these tips, you can find a plan that works for your needs and your budget.

Is It Illegal to Not Have Health Insurance in Oregon?

Health insurance is strongly encouraged, but it’s not legally required in the state of Oregon. However, if you choose not to have health insurance, you may end up paying a fine on your federal taxes if you don’t have an exemption.

How to Get Health Insurance in Oregon

Now that you know everything there is to know about health insurance in Oregon, there’s only one thing left to do: enroll in a plan! Start by getting access to free quotes here, so you can find the right plan for your needs. 

You deserve the best health insurance you can get. We’ve got you covered.

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