For Immediate Release: September 29, 2015

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Selects Organizations for In-Person Customer Support Program

OLYMPIA, Wash.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced the selection of nine organizations to provide in-person assistance to Washington residents as part of the Washington Healthplanfinder customer support network.

The organizations, which include public health agencies, regional health networks and other community organizations, were chosen to help residents enroll in health insurance for the next open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016. These organizations and service areas include:

  • Better Health Together in Spokane: Serving Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman Counties
  • CHOICE Regional Health Network in Olympia: Serving Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Lewis, South Mason, Pacific, Thurston and Wahkiakum Counties
  • Kitsap Public Health District in Bremerton: Serving Kitsap and North Mason Counties
  • Korean Women’s Association in Tacoma: Serving in King, Pierce, Thurston, and Snohomish Counties as a Statewide Navigator Organization
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County in Seattle: Serving King County
  • Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Seattle: Serving Clark, Klickitat, and Skamania Counties as a Lead Organization and in Grays Harbor, Island, King, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties as a Statewide Navigator Organization
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in Tacoma: Serving Pierce County
  • Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement: Serving Island, San Juan , Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties
  • Yakima Neighborhood Health Services: Serving Kittitas and Yakima Counties

“Our continued partnership with these knowledgeable and trusted organizations makes it possible to reach Washington’s uninsured population and support customers already enrolled through Washington Healthplanfinder,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Lead organizations will continue to be responsible for building and overseeing a network of navigators in their service areas to decrease the uninsured rate in Washington. This year, the Exchange will be exploring innovative outreach efforts to ensure coverage in all geographic areas. Navigators provide free, in-person support to help guide residents through the Washington Healthplanfinder enrollment process.

“Navigators have been a critical piece to our success to date, having assisted in the enrollment or renewal of more than a half a million people,” said Michael Marchand, Director of Communications and Outreach for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “These organizations reach residents in their local communities who need information about health insurance options and enrollment assistance.”

$3.2 million of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s state-appropriated budget is designated toward continuing to provide a robust in-person assistance program to serve residents through Washington State.

In addition to the lead organizations and their navigator networks, residents will also continue to have access to customer support through Washington Healthplanfinder registered insurance brokers and the Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

Since going live on Oct. 1, 2013, nearly 2 million people – one out of every four Washingtonians – have used Washington Healthplanfinder to secure health insurance coverage at low or no cost. A recent Gallup Survey found that the state’s uninsured rate has dropped more from 16.8% to 6.4% since the opening of the Exchange – the fifth highest such decline in the nation. Washington Healthplanfinder has also secured more than $400 million in federal subsidies to help consumers pay premiums and reduce costs of hospital and provider visits.

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. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1, 2015 for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2016. The open enrollment period will extend through Jan. 31, 2016.

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) to implement 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. For more information, visit www.wahbexchange.org.

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