Washington Healthplanfinder today announced more than 10,000 residents completed applications for health coverage since the marketplace opened on Oct. 1. Washington Healthplanfinder is the new way for Washingtonians to find, compare and enroll in health insurance and gain access to free or low-cost health coverage.
“The number of applications we’ve received is a strong start to our six-month open enrollment period,” said Richard Onizuka, Chief Executive Officer for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “While we’ve seen a high level of initial interest, we know that many individuals will continue to shop and wait to purchase a health plan until much closer to the effective start of coverage on Jan. 1, 2014.”
Website traffic and call center volumes continue to demonstrate a high demand for more information about receiving health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. The site has seen more than 837,000 total site visits and more than 2.5 million page views.
“Washington Healthplanfinder has been working well this first week and showing further improvements every day,” said Dorothy Teeter, director of the Health Care Authority, which includes the Medicaid program. “It is clear that shoppers are able to navigate the system and secure health insurance coverage that fits their needs.”
Updated numbers since the Oct. 1 launch include:
|Web and Call Center Data|
|Total Site Visits||
|Unique Page Views||
|Call Center Volume||
|Average Call Center Wait Times||
10 min 25 sec
|Qualified Health Plans||
|Medicaid Newly Eligible/Coverage Jan. 1||
|Qualified Health Plans||
*Note: Applications completed includes individuals who have completed applications but have not yet submitted payment. Payment is due on Dec. 23, 2013 for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014. Additional paper applications received through community organizations over the weekend are not yet reflected in the above totals.
“In a single week, we have opened up health insurance to thousands of residents who in the past often had to do without timely health care because of the cost,” said MaryAnne Lindeblad, state Medicaid director. “Apple Health enrollments already appear to be matching the levels we achieved in the past with our manual systems.”
While many residents are considering their options, officials from Washington Healthplanfinder urge people not to wait until Dec. 23 to sign up to ensure they are able to complete their application in time for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.
“It’s important that people have enough time to weigh their options and make an educated health coverage decision for them and their family,” said Onizuka. “We are encouraging people to shop around and make a decision by early to mid-December if they are able.”
If children, pregnant women and family Medicaid applicants are unable to complete an application online, they can access a paper application through the Health Care Authority website.
For more information about Washington Healthplanfinder and to enroll in health coverage, please visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org. For more information on the status of Washington Healthplanfinder, please visit the Exchange site at https://www.wahbexchange.org/news-center/outages-maintenance/.
Washington Healthplanfinder, Bethany Frey, (360) 688-7752
Washington Health Care Authority, Jim Stevenson, (360) 725-1915
About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder will be 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. Washington Healthplanfinder began enrolling consumers on Oct. 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014. The open enrollment period extends through March 31, 2014.
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 Health Care Authority
The Health Care Authority includes the two largest state health care purchasing programs – Apple Health (Medicaid) and Public Employees Benefits system, which handles state employee benefits. Under Medicaid expansion, income eligibility guidelines will increase to 138% of the federal poverty level effective Jan. 1, 2014, increasing state Medicaid rolls by an estimated 328,000 individuals.