The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 230,000 customers selected health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder by the Dec. 15 deadline for coverage that begins on Jan. 1. Customers who have not yet applied for coverage still have until Jan. 15 to sign up for health and dental plans that begin on Feb. 1.
The 230,000 plan selections represent a 35 percent increase over the same point in time last year. The updated total also eclipses the record 225,000 sign-ups documented at the close of the previous open enrollment period. The Exchange also saw a surge in new plan selections from individuals who were not enrolled on Washington Healthplanfinder last year. The more than 64,000 new plan selections represented an 89 percent jump in new plan selections from 2016.
“We are very pleased with the early results and continue to work with people still seeking coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “For anyone who waited, there is a little less than one month left before open enrollment ends. Those who want 2018 coverage need to finalize their health and dental plan selections by the Jan. 15 deadline.”
Below is a full breakdown of updated plan selections and consumer interest during open enrollment:
|OE5 (Nov. 1-Dec. 15, 2017)||OE4 (Nov. 1-Dec. 15, 2016)|
|Total Plan Selections||230,591||171,281|
|New Plan Selections||64,089||33,827|
|Renewing Plan Selections||166,502||137,454|
|Calls to the Customer Support Center||219,747||171,895|
|Usage of Smart Planfinder (new)||248,352||N/A|
|Downloads of WAPlanfinder mobile app (new)||19,039||N/A|
The trend also continued with more new Washington Healthplanfinder subsidy-eligible customers selecting gold plans than previous years. This is due in large part to the increased costs of silver plans that have resulted in more tax credit dollars for those qualifying for subsidies.
Heading into the new year, in-person help offered by the Exchange’s network of trained navigators and brokers will continue to be available to those who still need assistance during the application process. Locating a nearby navigator or broker may be done by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org or using the all-new WAPlanfinder mobile app. Additional assistance may be found by visiting one of the 12 enrollment centers and broker affiliate sites located throughout the state.
The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) is also available to answer questions about enrollment through the Jan. 15 deadline. Residents can call the Customer Support Center during weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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 current open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder began on Nov. 1, 2017 and Ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 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.