[2/9/17] Latest Enrollment Period For Health Exchange Brings Record Numbers

Posted in Feature, Health

The latest enrollment period for health and dental insurance through Washington’s state-run exchange wrapped at the end of January. Numbers are now in at the local and statewide level and show record signups, especially in the last couple weeks of enrollment.

More than 225,000 people used Washington Healthplanfinder to select a qualified health plan – a 13 percent increase over last year’s total.

Here locally, in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan Counties: about 850 people signed up for health insurance. That’s according to Columbia Valley Community Health. Their Member Services Manager Dulce (dole-say) Negrete (negret-ay) says outreach played a major role in the increased signups….

020917 Healthcare Numbers 1 :42 “…enroll them here at the clinic.”

Statewide, in addition to the record-breaking number of individuals and families selecting health plans, more than 60,000 added family dental coverage – a new product offering for 2017.

Ben Spradling, a spokesman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, says they’ve been working towards offering dental plans for a year…

020917 Healthcare Numbers 2 :14 “…achieve for 2017.”

Through the final week of open enrollment, traffic to Washington Healthplanfinder more than doubled over the previous year, with nearly 500,000 unique visitors accessing the online market place to connect with coverage. The Customer Support Center received more than 44,000 calls in the seven days leading up to the deadline, including the nearly 12,000 calls received in the final hours of open enrollment.

Spradling said it’s not uncommon for people to sign up at the last minute, adding it’s not something they recommend. But both Negrete and Spradling said the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act is likely a factor as well…

020917 Healthcare Numbers 3 :17 “…to get covered accordingly.”

After the state’s enrollment period closed, Governor Jay Inslee released a statement saying “While congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. are trying to take health care away from people in our state, I will do all I can to ensure these families do not see their coverage repealed until a viable replacement is in place.”

He added the Exchange is doing exactly what it was intended do and helping record numbers of working families who need and deserve health care.

Residents who are still without coverage and meet specific eligibility requirements have the option of signing up for health and dental plans outside of open enrollment through a special enrollment period. Coverage is also available year-round for free to individuals and families who qualify for the state’s Medicaid program – Washington Apple Health.