Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) deeply appreciates the diligent efforts of Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his staff, who yesterday secured a court order against Health Insurance Team, Seattle-based insurance brokers, for imitating our Washington Healthplanfinder website in a deceptive manner. The court order legally requires that the brokers stop their use of domain names and branding that are similar to our official, state-based health insurance marketplace.
“In response to consumer confusion and complaints related to this copy-cat website, we alerted and provided detailed evidence to the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office, prompting their investigation,“ said Pam MacEwan, Chief Executive Officer of the Exchange. “Washingtonians who need health coverage should be able to easily and safely obtain it, without being taken advantage of.”
Wahealthplanfinder.org, the state’s official website, is used by one in four Washingtonians to obtain health coverage. To report a website posing as this official site, file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. To report an insurance agent, agency, or other licensee for misrepresentations or fraudulent, deceptive, or coercive activity, file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The open-enrollment period for Exchange coverage begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through January 15, 2021. New Cascade Care products that expand access, choice and value for Washingtonians will be available for the first time, when they need it most.
To protect yourself and your family from copy-cat websites, follow these tips while shopping for health insurance:
1. Verify the web address of the exchange: The only official web address for the online marketplace is www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Any other site with a variation on the name or with an address that ends in “.net” or “.com” is not the state’s official marketplace. If you are unsure whether you have found the official website, call Washington Healthplanfinder toll-free at 1-855-WAFINDER.
2. Don’t pay for free stuff: The official marketplace for the state of Washington is the only place where you can receive tax credits, subsidies or access to free coverage through Medicaid or Washington Apple Health. Washingtonians never have to pay to sign up for free or low-cost health coverage in the marketplace.
3. Reach out to free, legitimate help: Only individuals who are certified by Washington Healthplanfinder or Medicaid to assist you with the enrollment process should request personal information to complete your application during a scheduled visit. This help is always free. If you do not know whether someone is certified to assist you, call the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-WAFINDER. Community volunteers trained by Medicaid can be verified by calling 1-800-562-3022 or emailing AskMedicaid@hca.wa.gov.
Anyone requiring help signing up for coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder may contact the Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604. They may also contact an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker, or Enrollment center who can answer insurance questions and help with enrollment. Free help from local experts is accessible via the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or by visiting: www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).
About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families 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. The next qualified health and dental plans open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1, 2020.
About Washington Apple Health
In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, more people have access to preventive care, such as cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov.