The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that a total of 222,636 customers selected a 2019 health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, by last Saturday’s midnight deadline to enroll. The total number of plan selections is only slightly lower than the 242,000 sign-ups posted during the 2018 open enrollment period that stretched one month longer.
The final two days of the six-week open enrollment period saw more than 11,000 Washingtonians sign up for coverage before the Dec. 15 cutoff. Several hundred more plan selections are expected to arrive as customers who started the application process before close of open enrollment finalize their applications for 2019 coverage. The Exchange has also experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of current customers renewing their coverage.
“We experienced remarkable volume in the days before the deadline from residents signing up for health coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Our showing during open enrollment reaffirms that Washington state’s individual health insurance market remains strong at a time when other exchanges and marketplaces are experiencing declines.”
|OE6 (Nov. 1, 2018-Dec. 15, 2018)||OE5 (Nov. 1, 2017-Jan. 15, 2018)|
|Total Health Plan Selections||222,636||242,850|
The Exchange’s Customer Support Center handled more than 20,000 calls over the weekend and the Washington Healthplanfinder website welcomed 90,000 visitors. In light of the extraordinary demand leading into the deadline, the Exchange is providing any customers who may have encountered difficulties while signing up until this Thursday, Dec. 20 to finalize their health and dental plans selections for next year.
“The additional time this week is an opportunity for individuals and families who were not able to sign up for a plan to take those critical final steps,” said MacEwan. “We urge those who have not yet secured their 2019 coverage to call our Customer Support Center by Dec. 20 and request to enroll in coverage that starts Jan. 1 of next year.”
The Exchange’s toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) will host additional operating hours over the next two weeks to accommodate those individuals who need to finalize their coverage. The center will be responding to customer inquiries from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. through this Thursday.
Customers who have already finished signing up in a 2019 health and dental plan should now prepare to activate their coverage by paying their first month’s premium. The Exchange is working with participating insurance carriers to ensure those who have selected a plan receive their invoices and make their first premium payment. Information on submitting a premium payment is available by clicking the “Your Payment Options” button on the www.wahealthplanfinder.org homepage.
Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice of 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 most recent open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder began on Nov. 1, 2018 and ended on Dec. 15, 2018.
About Washington Apple Health
In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is 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