For Immediate Release: December 30, 2013

Washington Healthplanfinder Offers Important Guidance for Consumers Starting Coverage Jan. 1

Information applies to those immediately accessing benefits with their new insurer at year’s start OLYMPIA, Wash.

Washington Healthplanfinder and participating health insurance carriers today announced additional guidance for residents who have made an effort to receive health coverage through wahealthplanfinder.org before the Dec. 23 deadline, but who were unable to complete their applications.

These residents, who will have additional time through Jan. 15 to enroll in retroactive coverage that begins Jan. 1, should be aware of important information when seeking services immediately in the New Year.

“We want our customers who may be accessing their new coverage in January to be aware of the process for utilizing health benefits before they are fully enrolled,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for Washington Healthplanfinder. “Some may incur out-of-pocket expenses if using services prior to their enrollment information being fully reconciled with their new health insurer.”

Washington Healthplanfinder offers important information for these affected customers:

  • There may be a delay between when a customer completes their enrollment in Healthplanfinder and when they are shown as fully enrolled with their newly selected health plan.
  • Although coverage is effective on Jan. 1 for those who are eligible for the retroactive option, customers may not receive health plan ID cards or other plan information until later in January. This may impact customers seeking medical or prescription services before their ID cards arrive.
  • Customers may be required to pay the full cost of treatment or prescription medications they receive if the provider cannot verify coverage. However, they will be entitled to reimbursement for covered services from covered providers in their health plan once their application is complete.
  • Customers may contact their health plan with any questions about how to use their benefits before they receive their ID card.

“We continue to work closely with the health insurance carriers to ensure that all new enrollee information is properly reflected in the system,” said Onizuka. “Please be patient and know that if you are determined eligible for coverage, follow required steps and finalize your plan selection and payment by Jan. 15, your services will be reimbursed according to your plan benefits.”

The retroactive option applies to applications started or submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23. Individuals will have their insurance benefits retroactively configured to the start of the year if they are determined eligible, indicate their interest in Jan. 1 coverage and select and purchase a health plan by Jan. 15.

Affected customers waiting for completion of their applications should be on high alert to receive notifications from Washington Healthplanfinder. Customers will receive notifications outlining important steps to bypass or fix errors affecting their application. Customers will need to select and purchase their health plan by Jan. 15 and notify Healthplanfinder they are interested in Jan. 1 coverage.

As of Dec. 23, more than 65,000 Washington residents selected and purchased a private health plan. Nearly 70,000 were determined eligible and must take the final step of submitting payment to receive health coverage.

For helpful hints for customers seeking coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014, please click here.

Medicaid Note: Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) does not have an open enrollment period.  Individuals and families will be able to apply and complete their renewals via www.wahealthplanfinder.org throughout the year. Questions about Healthplanfinder should be directed to the toll-free Customer Support Center at 1-855-WAFINDER; Apple Health questions can be directed to the toll-free hot line at 1-800-562-3022 or emailed to AskMedicaid@hca.wa.gov.

For more information about Washington Healthplanfinder, visit wahealthplanfinder.org.

About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) with the goal to redefine people’s experience with health care through the creation of a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire in Dec. 2011.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Consumers who enroll by Dec. 23, 2013 will have their health coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2014.

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