Washington Healthplanfinder Readies Residents for Start of Open Enrollment

Adult dental plans, improved shopping experience, and Quality Rating System highlight 2017 changes OLYMPIA, Wash.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has announced customer experience enhancements to Washington Healthplanfinder that are set to debut as the fourth open enrollment period begins today, Nov. 1.

Chief among the additions is the introduction of Qualified Dental Plan offerings for those purchasing a Qualified Health Plan. Washington Healthplanfinder customers are now able to sort, filter, and compare 12 dental plans offered by three insurers on the way to signing up for coverage. All customers eligible to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan are eligible to add a Qualified Dental Plan to their coverage.

“We are excited to add dental plans to the coverage options available through Washington Healthplanfinder,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Dental coverage provides an important benefit that families have been asking for. We are hopeful that customers look at these new options and add a dental plan to their 2017 health coverage.”

Washington Healthplanfinder has also introduced a new shopping cart feature that allows customers to save their plan selections as they navigate between health and dental plan shopping. As they compare their options, customers can now also utilize an all-new Quality Rating System to better evaluate plans. Based on federal standards of quality, health plans will be assigned a rating – 1 star (lowest rated) to 5 stars (highest rated) – that can be used to determine which coverage options to select.

“Our desire is to connect as many Washingtonians as possible with health and dental coverage that meets their needs and budget,” added MacEwan. “With the additions of a shopping cart feature, Quality Rating System, and other improvements to Washington Healthplanfinder, customers can more easily access and assess their coverage options to find plans that work best for them.”

Additional improvements to Washington Healthplanfinder include:

  • Shopping Tips: Customers shopping online will now receive alerts with educational tips on comparing plans and reducing costs. The illustrated online pop-ups provide easy-to-understand explanations for both health and dental coverage options.
  • Going Paperless: As part of the Exchange’s efforts to reduce paper consumption, customers now have the option of having their account information delivered straight to their email inbox. The transition to paperless correspondence enables customers to get their notifications faster while lessening environmental stress and lowering cost associated with mailing correspondences.
  • Electronic Alerts: Customers will be able to sign up to receive news and updates related to their health insurance coverage and important dates. These email alerts will be sent regularly and include blog posts, sign-up event locations, and other updates related to getting the most out of health and dental plans.

Customers signing up for coverage can access a variety of one-on-one assistance options during open enrollment, including at the state’s first full-service enrollment centers debuting on Nov. 1. Located in Spokane and Vancouver, the two health insurance storefronts can connect residents with resources and in-person help as they go through the application process.

The pair of full-service enrollment sites supplement in-person assistance provided by the Exchange’s network of trained navigators and brokers located throughout the state. Individuals and families can find navigators or brokers in their area by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

The Exchange’s Customer Support Center is also prepared to provide answers to questions related to enrollment beginning on Nov. 1. Customers needing assistance can call the Customer Support Center every weekday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633). Customer resources available anytime can be accessed at www.knowyourplan.org and www.wahbexchange.org.

During the previous open enrollment period, 1.7 million residents accessed affordable health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, with more than 170,000 of those customers signing up for Qualified Health Plans. Since going live three years ago, 2.4 million residents have used Washington Healthplanfinder to enroll in health coverage, including 750,000 residents who previously did not have insurance.

Unlike the federal marketplace, that saw the average second lowest cost silver plans increase by 25 percent in the 38 states served by Healthcare.gov, Washington state experienced an average increase of only eight  percent in these benchmark plans. They also bucked national trends with lower increases in average premiums and deductibles.

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.

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