Washington State: WA HealthPlanFinder reports 16,000 QHP selections via SEPs so far

via the WA Healthplanfinder ACA exchange:
Over 16,000 Signed up for Coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder as Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic Hits Washington Households
  • Over 16,000 customers selected a plan for qualified health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder since March 10, when a special enrollment period was announced in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Additionally, Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollments are increasing.
  • The special enrollment period allows anyone uninsured and eligible to enroll in health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder to sign up by May 8, 2020.
  • Additional existing special enrollment periods allow people who have experienced a recent loss of income or loss of employer coverage to sign up.
  • Individuals can sign up using the WAPlanfinder mobile app, or over the phone with the help of an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker, or Enrollment center.
  • Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollment is open year-round for individuals who qualify.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) announced on April 23 that over 16,000 customers have selected a plan for coverage since the Exchange announced a special enrollment period in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes over 6,000 previously uninsured Washington residents who have come in through the COVID-19 special enrollment period, and over 10,000 additional customers who have come in through a qualifying life event . Currently, 202,000 individuals have selected a qualified health plan through the Exchange.

That's 6,000 COVID SEP enrollees in 45 days, or 133 per day on average.

It's also worth noting that 10,000 people enrolled via normal SEPs, or around 222/day...the vast bulk of which I'm guessing involve loss of employer coverage. I've previously estimated that Washington State typically only has around 130 people enroll via normal SEPs per day for all QLEs combined, so this would be around a 70% increase.

While this sounds like a lot (and it is), the other day I estimated that this could theoretically run as high as 1,500 per day based on 18x as many Washingtonians filing for unemployment over the past five weeks as you'd typically expect.

Of course, aside from the fact that only a small fraction of those who become eligible for a SEP typically utilize it even in normal circumstances, there's some other factors to consider here:

  • Some of those 6,000 people who enrolled via the COVID-19 SEP likely would have been eligible for a regular SEP anyway; this could make the ratio as low as 4.2:1 (1,494/day vs. 355/day)
  • Many of those losing their coverage became eligible for Medicaid expansion instead. The press release doesn't specify how many have enrolled since the first wave of COVID-19-related unemployment filings started, however.

Washingtonians who are uninsured have 15 days left to sign up for coverage using the new special enrollment period, scheduled to close May 8. An additional 10,000 customers have selected a plan using existing enrollment periods for those who have recently lost their coverage, experienced a change in income, or experienced another qualifying event .

“I want to remind individuals that they can get the coverage they need during this crisis through Washington Healthplanfinder ,” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “I know there are thousands of people out there who have either lost their health insurance or were uninsured when this crisis began. There is a path to coverage ready for them.”

Individuals who need help signing up for coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder can contact an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker, or Enrollment center. These insurance experts can also answer any questions consumer may have and help them get enrolled. Consumers can find local experts using the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or by visiting: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/_content/find-expert-advice.html .

Customers who need help signing up for coverage can contact the Customer Support Center between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604.

Individuals who have recently lost their job or their employer coverage, have experienced a change in income, or experienced another qualifying event can visit WAHealthplanfinder.org or use the WAPlanfinder Mobile App to sign up online.

Coverage You Can Count On

Insurance companies providing coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder have agreed to cover cost sharing related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19.

Contact your health insurance provider directly for more information about:

  • How COVID-19 impacts your coverage
  • Telehealth appointments
  • Payment options or grace periods
  • Benefits related to COVID-19

Insurance Providers:

For more information about coverage options during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://www.wahbexchange.org/coronavirus-faqs/ .

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

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 next qualified health and dental plans open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1, 2020.

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 passed in 2010, more people have access to preventive care, such as 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