For Immediate Release: September 7, 2016

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Selects Sea Mar Community Health Centers as the Lead Organization for Pierce County

Sea Mar will oversee free outreach services available to Pierce County residents during open enrollment OLYMPIA, Wash.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that Sea Mar Community Health Centers has been selected to manage the in-person assistance provided to Pierce County residents for the upcoming open enrollment period taking place Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2017.

Beginning Oct. 1, Sea Mar will oversee outreach and enrollment services for all of Pierce County, including a network of navigators trained to provide free, in-person assistance to residents signing up for health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Pierce County,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Sea Mar has extensive experience guiding Washingtonians through the enrollment process, and we are confident they will be a valuable resource for connecting Pierce County residents with affordable health coverage.”

Sea Mar also serves as the lead organization for Clark, Klickitat, and Skamania counties, and operates as a Statewide Navigator Organization in Grays Harbor, Island, King, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties. Their services include medical, dental, behavioral health, maternity support, and WIC services at 13 locations with bilingual services in all Sea Mar locations and 47 patient navigators.

“Sea Mar Community Health Centers is honored to be selected by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange as the lead organization for enrollment outreach in Pierce County. Increasing access to health care is at the core of our mission and has been a focus since our founding in 1978,” said Rogelio Riojas, President and CEO of Sea Mar Community Health Centers. “We value the trust we’ve built with the communities we serve and look forward to working with other community partners to provide linkages to resources that lead to greater health and wellbeing of Pierce County residents.”

The Exchange is currently partnered with nine public health agencies, regional health networks, and other community organizations that oversee a network of more than 800 trained navigators located throughout the state. During the previous open enrollment period, nearly 350,000 Washingtonians utilized in-person assistance provided by programs such as lead organizations and their navigator networks to enroll in coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.

“Lead organizations and navigators partnered with the Exchange provide impactful assistance to residents who need support maneuvering through the enrollment process,” said Michael Marchand, Director of Communications and Outreach for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “These organizations and individuals are committed to employing effective outreach efforts that continue to increase health coverage in communities throughout the state.”

Residents can locate and connect with a navigator in their area by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Additional customer support can be received by calling the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year. Small business owners have the option of enrolling year-round through Washington Healthplanfinder Business.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is an 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 is Nov. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017.

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.