The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that 209,802 customers used Washington Healthplanfinder to purchase a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) for 2018 coverage during the most recent open enrollment period. This total is a nearly three percent increase over last year and is 50 percent higher than the number of enrollees recorded following the first open enrollment period in 2014.
“We are continuing to see more individuals than ever use Washington Healthplanfinder to connect with health coverage that meets their needs,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “The continual gains in enrollment we have experienced through our first five open enrollment periods reflects our growing position as the state’s most trusted place to shop for and enroll in coverage.
This enrollment announcement is provided in more detail in the most recent Open Enrollment Report released by the Exchange. The report offers a comprehensive look at the more than 1.72 million Washington Healthplanfinder customers who are enrolled in health and dental coverage as of Feb. 2018, including the 1.5 million residents currently enrolled in free coverage through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid MAGI/CHIP).
Overview of the first five years of Washington Healthplanfinder enrollment:
|QHP Enrollment||Total Enrollment|
Additional highlights from this fifth-year Open Enrollment Report include:
- More than one-third of QHP enrollees are new. Nearly, 77,000 new customers enrolled in a 2018 QHP, which accounts for just over 36 percent of all QHP enrollment. Additionally, half of those new enrollees qualified for subsidized coverage.
- Customers took needed actions by important deadlines. Running from Nov. 1, 2017 through Jan. 15, 2018, the most recent open enrollment period was at least two weeks shorter than any held previously. The first deadline of Dec. 15 – the cutoff for coverage that began on Jan. 1 – garnered 95 percent of enrollment. More customers than ever activated their coverage at the new year by paying their first monthly premium.
- Enrollees are using tax credits to get more coverage. Nearly 26,000 customers enrolled in a gold-level QHP for 2018 coverage – an 82 percent increase over the 14,000 customers enrolled in gold-level plans last year. This shift up in metal level coincides with average monthly tax credits increasing by $75 over last year to climb to $263 per person.
The report also notes that individuals’ average net premiums increased by $66 per month over last year, with customers making more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level experiencing the highest increases. However, those customers whose income was at or below that threshold saw their average monthly tax credit amount climb to $263 – an increase of $75 per month from 2017.
“We are thankful that customers who rely on important financial assistance found additional help to lower the price of their premiums,” added MacEwan. “However, the cost of coverage continues to be an issue for too many residents. We remain committed to working toward a better outcome that results in more affordable health insurance options for all residents of Washington state.”
Individuals currently without coverage may use a special enrollment period to shop for and enroll in a health plan if they have experienced a life qualifying event. To apply for a special enrollment period, customers must create a new account or report a change to an existing account at wahealthplanfinder.org.
Residents who do not qualify for a special enrollment period must wait to sign up for health and dental coverage until the next open enrollment period begins on Nov. 1.
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.
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 open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder is Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2018.
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 State Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov.