With new health coverage benefits taking effect in the New Year, Washington Healthplanfinder is reminding residents to complete applications by Dec. 23 for their health coverage to start on Jan. 1.
Since Dec. 13, more than 143,000 individuals visited the online marketplace and 37,000 applications for health coverage were submitted through wahealthplanfinder.org. In the last week, enrollments in private health plans has increased by more than 50 percent with 17,000 new enrollees. Since Oct. 1, more than 50,000 individuals have selected and purchased a private health plan.
“Our staff is processing a surge in applications,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for Washington Healthplanfinder. “In addition to distributing final reminders to our customers, Customer Support Center staff will work through the weekend to call individuals who are stuck in the process and manually verify paper documents. IT staff continue to resolve data issues and run nightly batches of applications through the system.”
The Exchange recently announced that residents who have made an effort to receive health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder before the Dec. 23 deadline, but who were unable to complete their applications, will have additional time to enroll in coverage that begins Jan. 1. Applications submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 23 will have their insurance benefits retroactively configured to the start of the year.
“We want to remind residents the deadline for submitting applications has not been extended,” said Onizuka. “While we are allowing more time to process applications through Jan. 15, residents must have started an application in our system by Dec. 23 and follow important step-by-step guidance to receive their coverage on Jan. 1.”
Affected customers should be on high alert to receive notifications from Washington Healthplanfinder. Customers will receive notifications outlining important steps to bypass or fix errors affecting their application. Key steps include:
- One. Customers will be required to select a health plan and submit their payment through Washington Healthplanfinder. At that time, customer accounts will show that coverage is effective Feb. 1, 2014.
- Two. Customers must notify Healthplanfinder they are interested in coverage for Jan. 1, 2014. They will receive a detailed communication instructing them how to confirm their interest via phone or email for coverage effective Jan. 1.
Customers may not make changes to their account after notifying Healthplanfinder of their desired Jan. 1 effective date until their applications are modified to support Jan. 1 coverage.
The Exchange continues to work with health insurance carriers to communicate the process for customers who receive coverage retroactively to Jan. 1 but who need to access health services immediately in the New Year. Some customers may not receive plan ID cards or they may be subject to out-of-pocket costs until they receive an enrollment confirmation, which may take up to three weeks.
“We realize that retroactive coverage is not a perfect solution for our customers,” said Onizuka. “However, it will allow them to receive desired health plan benefits if they need important services immediately after Jan. 1.”
For helpful hints for customers seeking coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014, please click here.
Medicaid Note: Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) does not have an open enrollment period. Individuals and families will be able to apply and complete their renewals via www.wahealthplanfinder.org throughout the year. Questions about Healthplanfinder should be directed to the toll-free Customer Support Center at 1-855-WAFINDER; Apple Health questions can be directed to the toll-free hot line at 1-800-562-3022 or emailed to AskMedicaid@hca.wa.gov.
For more information about Washington Healthplanfinder, visit wahealthplanfinder.org.
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) with the goal to redefine people’s experience with health care through the creation of 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 appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire in Dec. 2011.
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. Consumers who enroll by Dec. 23, 2013 will have their health coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2014.