The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 123,000 residents have selected Qualified Health Plans for 2016 coverage since the launch of the third open enrollment period on Nov. 1. Approximately 112,000 customers renewed plan selections from the previous year, with automatic renewals accounting for more than 84,000 of the 123,209 plans selected through December 1.
All residents who qualify must select a Qualified Health Plan through wahealthplanfinder.org by December 23 to receive coverage by Jan. 1, 2016. Data collected from the first two open enrollment periods indicate a significant increase in sign-ups as the Dec. 23 deadline approaches. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2016.
“We are very happy with the number of people who have started or have already completed the plan selection process for 2016 coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Past experience shows that many will wait until the last minute to enroll. It is important for customers to take action by Dec. 23 to ensure that their coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2016.”
Detailed totals on Qualified Health Plan selections (from Nov. 1, 2015 through Dec. 1, 2015):
|2016 Open Enrollment Overview (Nov. 1-Dec. 1, 2015)|
|Total Plans Selected||123,209|
|New Customers Selecting Coverage||10,952|
|Renewing Customers Selecting Coverage||112,257|
|Calls Answered at Exchange Call Center||110,656|
|WAHealthplanfinder.org Unique Users||111,720|
|WAHBExchange.org Unique Users||72,351|
|Digital Marketing – Impressions (Nov. 1-Dec. 6)||21,158,705|
|Click-throughs to Healthplanfinder from digital placements (Nov. 1-Dec. 6)||67,331|
*NOTE: Plan selection totals represent the number of individuals signed up for 2016 health coverage from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1, not the number of applications received.
The number of plans selected through the first month of the current enrollment period represents an increase from the first month total during open enrollment last year. This increase is due in large part to an easier auto-renewal process that allows renewing customers to maintain their existing coverage going into 2016.
Initial reports through Dec. 1 also indicate significant online engagement among consumers seeking to apply or maintain coverage in 2016. Digital marketing that supports raising awareness of open enrollment and Washington Healthplanfinder has garnered more than 21 million impressions since Nov. 1 and received more than triple the average rate of click-throughs directing to wahealthplanfinder.org.
Unlike past years, customers who have already selected new or renewed plans should be on the lookout for billing information arriving from their insurance company. Payment of premiums must be made directly to the insurance company in time for coverage that starts on January 1. Among the customer experience improvements made prior to the third open enrollment period, the Exchange no longer aggregates premiums or accepts customer premium payments.
Washington Healthplanfinder is also providing new, improved resource guides to help consumers compare health plans and investigate their options for 2016. Coverage shopping tips include information on financial help to lower the cost of insurance and demonstrate how to easily filter, sort, and compare Qualified Health plans when shopping for coverage. You may find more information at knowyourplan.org.
Free in-person help is available through the Washington Healthplanfinder customer support network, which includes thousands of brokers and navigators across Washington State. Customers who need help enrolling may locate a broker or navigator by zip code through the Customer Support link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) is hosting extended weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13 to better accommodate the increase in plan selections leading up to the Dec. 23 deadline. The Customer Support Center is also available every Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the open enrollment period.
This year, qualifying Washington Healthplanfinder customers received $360 million in federal tax credits to help pay for premiums and over $58 million in cost-sharing reductions to lower costs of hospital and doctor visits.
Since going live on Oct. 1, 2013, 1.5 million people – one out of every five Washingtonians – have used Washington Healthplanfinder to secure health insurance coverage at low or no cost. U.S. Census data found that as of the end of 2014 the number of state’s uninsured rate has dropped to 9.2 percent. The 4.7 percent decline represents the fifth highest such decline in the nation.
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. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1, 2015 for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2016. The open enrollment period will extend through Jan. 31, 2016.
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