The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 200,000 customers have selected 2017 health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder since the open enrollment period began on Nov. 1 – an increase of almost 14 percent over the same point last year.
With three weeks remaining until the current enrollment period closes on Jan. 31, the 200,000 Washingtonians who have already signed up for Qualified Health Plans equal the final number of plans selected at the end of open enrollment last year. These numbers are in addition to the more than 1.8 million people enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid), including 600,000 that are newly enrolled as part of the state’s Medicaid expansion effort.
“As we head toward a record number of health and dental plans selections through Washington Healthplanfinder, it is evident more Washingtonians than ever are understanding the importance of securing coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We urge anyone who has not yet signed up for a health or dental plan to avoid delaying and finalize their selections by Jan. 23 to have coverage that begins by Feb. 1.”
A breakdown of Qualified Health Plan selections through the first 10 weeks of open enrollment is as follows:
|Open Enrollment (Nov. 1-Jan. 9)||OE4||OE3||Change|
|Total Qualified Health Plan Selections||200,612||176,722||+ 14%|
|New Customers||65,729||52,945||+ 24%|
|Renewing Customers||134,883||123,777||+ 9%|
Today’s numbers also highlight the state’s changing individual health insurance landscape as 45 percent of current new customers are seeking coverage without federal financial assistance. This is an indicator that a majority of customers in the state’s individual market are now securing their health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder.
“We are witnessing a shift in how people in the individual marketplace are purchasing health insurance and are excited to see more customers at all income levels using Washington Healthplanfinder,” said MacEwan. “For middle income families and individuals who may not qualify for federal financial assistance, Washington Healthplanfinder provides the best place for comparing prices to locate the most value in health and dental benefits.”
For those who have already selected 2017 health and dental plans, now is the time to activate your coverage by paying your first month’s premium. Most customers should expect to receive a bill for premium payment from their insurance company within seven days of confirming a plan. The total amount of the bill should be paid directly to the insurance company in order for coverage to begin.
Select insurance companies also allow customers to submit a premium payment online directly from their Washington Healthplanfinder account. These customers can use the “Pay Now” button on www.wahealthplanfinder.org to connect to their insurance company’s payment portal to submit their first premium payment and effectuate coverage. The list of insurance companies offering the “Pay Now” option can be found here.
Customers still needing to secure 2017 health or dental coverage have until 10 p.m. on Jan. 23 to select a plan that begins on Feb. 1. To support the expected increase in traffic leading up to the deadline, the toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) will host extended hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 23. The Customer Support Center’s standard hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
In-person assistance provided by trained navigators and brokers is located throughout the state can be found by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Additional in-person help is available at full-service enrollment centers, enrollment assistance affiliates, and enrollment events being held now through the Jan. 23 cutoff for Feb. 1 coverage.
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 open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder is underway now and extends through Jan. 31, 2017.
About Washington Apple Health
In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Coverage is free and available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like 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 Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov.