The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is reminding residents today that less than one week remains to select health coverage through wahealthplanfinder.org for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2016. Customers will have until Dec. 23 to select a Qualified Health Plan that goes into effect at the start of the New Year.
In the remaining days, individuals and families who have not taken action to get health insurance coverage should access to use Washington Healthplanfinder to review Qualified Health Plan options and see if they qualify for financial help including tax credits that may lower the cost of coverage.
“With the Dec. 23 deadline almost upon us, we are urging those who want or need 2016 health coverage to get signed up as soon as possible,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Now is the time for customers who still need coverage to shop for options and select plans that meet their budget.”
The upcoming deadline coincides with the biggest surge in sign-ups seen during the current enrollment period. Since the start of the month more than 27,000 customers have selected plans for coverage starting Jan. 1, bringing the total number of those selecting coverage since the start of open enrollment to over 150,000.
The Exchange Call Center is also seeing a steady increase in call volume this week, receiving more than 9,000 calls a day, and wahealthplanfinder.org has welcomed more than 56,000 unique users over the past week. With traffic expected to increase even further, customers who wait until closer to the deadline should be aware of possible delays when signing up.
“As we anticipated, traffic to our customer support network has risen significantly as we approach Dec. 23,” said Michael Marchand, Director of Communications and Outreach for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We are encouraging customers to take action sooner rather than later in order to avoid the last minute rush that we will likely see next week.”
To prepare for an increase in activity through the deadline, the toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) will host extended weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 19 and Sunday, Dec. 20. The Customer Support Center is regularly open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Navigators and insurance brokers are also available to provide free, in-person assistance throughout open enrollment, and both can be found by clicking the Customer Support link on wahealthplanfinder.org. Upcoming events held in communities throughout the state to help customers select health coverage can be found on the Events Calendar.
Additional information on receiving financial help, comparing plans online, and other facts about getting health coverage by can be found on the list of Five Important Things to Know about Getting Covered through Washington Healthplanfinder in 2016.
Customers not needing coverage by Jan. 1 have until the close of open enrollment on Jan. 31 to select a health plan for 2016 coverage. Customers who select by Jan. 23 will have coverage effective Feb. 1 and those who wait until Jan. 31 will have coverage effective March 1. Residents may sign up for a new plan or renew an existing plan by visiting wahealthplanfinder.org.
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