Clatsop County residents and the rest of Oregon have until April 30 to apply for health insurance coverage through Cover Oregon. Gov. John Kitzhaber announced the deadline extension March 26. According to a county news release, people who apply for coverage through Cover Oregon during the extended application period and enroll later will not be subject the potential federal tax penalty.

In addition, an agreement between Cover Oregon and participating insurance providers offers small businesses access to federal tax credits for 2014.

Assistance is available for local residents interesting in applying for insurance coverage. Judi Mahoney is Clatsop County's designated enrollment assistance agent, thanks to a grant obtained by the county Public Health Department; she is available to work one-on-one with county residents to find out which kind of health insurance coverage is the best fit, and find out what kind of financial assistance they're eligible for.

She is available to work with individuals, families and owners of businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and all assistance is provided at no cost. Spanish-language assistance is also available.

Mahoney can be reached at:

Phone: (503) 358-2333

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

People can also call a special appointment line at the county Public Health office at (503) 338-3684.

Coastal Family Health Center in Astoria is also a designated Cover Oregon assistance provider. Call (503) 741-8035 to find out more.

Cover Oregon is the state's health insurance exchange, an online marketplace where Oregonians can review insurance coverage options from a wide variety of private insurers as well as public programs including the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids.

Cover Oregon is designed to provide an easily accessible venue for Oregonians to compare various health insurance options side by side, whether they currently have no coverage or are simply interested in checking out alternatives. The program also provides information on the subsidies offered to help people obtain coverage.

Northwest Lending Group