Washington State: @WAPlanFinder announces 188,000 #ACA exchange enrollees in 16 days; 2,200 choose Public Option plan

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Health Insurance Coverage is More Important Than Ever – In Person Help Still Available during New Statewide Restrictions

The 2021 open enrollment period is underway, and Washingtonians are now signing up for health plans, including in new Cascade Care health plans. After months of a global pandemic – needs have changed due to job loss, or working from home, or family income changes. Individuals seeking health coverage can now shop more options this year, along with financial assistance, by visiting Washington Healthplanfinder to sign up for health and dental coverage.

“With infection rates climbing and economic uncertainty across Washington state, now is the time to sign up for health coverage,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “There are many resources available to help individuals understand their options.” 

The state’s marketplace has seen a marked increase in website traffic and plan selections in recent days. As of Nov. 16, over 188,000 Washingtonians have signed up for 2021 coverage, including over 6,000 new customers. Overall plan selection has increased about 4% from last fall at this time. Among new customers, 36% have selected a Cascade Care plan. These plans offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs.

Again, "Cascade Care" is the name for WA's new "Public Option" policies. 36% of 6K = around 2,200 people enrolling in a PO plan so far. Not huge, but a decent start.

For those seeking coverage starting January 1, customers need to enroll in a plan by December 15. Those who enroll after that deadline and before January 15 will have a coverage start date of February 1.

Washington Healthplanfinder has a network of assisters ready to help you sign up for health coverage. With over 900 navigators and 1,700 brokers, they provide free enrollment help at in-person enrollment centers. The 11 full-service enrollment centers are operating in-person following current COVID-19 safety protocols, as well as offering virtual video, over the phone, and drive-in services to help Washingtonians enroll for the insurance plan that fits their needs. Each center offers free, confidential assistance from qualified staff who help customers answer tough questions about health coverage—as well as provide cultural, linguistic, and disability support for customers with special needs. They can also determine whether customers qualify for financial assistance.

“Navigators and brokers provide an invaluable service to customers, helping them understand and select health coverage,” adds MacEwan. “They are the knowledgeable and trusted health literacy experts in their communities.” 

Lead organizations throughout the state are designated to oversee outreach and enrollment services in specific geographic areas. These organizations support navigators to help individuals and families complete their Washington Healthplanfinder application and sign up for coverage. Navigators are trained experts in the enrollment process and explain coverage options and the availability of financial assistance to lower the cost of insurance premiums. Brokers are licensed health insurance professionals that can walk you through the enrollment and plan selection process. They can explain eligibility and enrollment and can give advice about picking a plan that best fits your needs.

If you would like to meet with a navigator or broker, you can find one in your community by using the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or by visiting WAHealthplanfinder.org. You can also contact Washington Healthplanfinder’s Customer Support Center for assistance at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604. To schedule an appointment online with an Enrollment Center, visit WAHealthplanfinder.org and select ‘Get Virtual Help’.

During the 2021 open enrollment period, the Customer Support Center will be open 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Additionally, extended hours scheduled:

November 

  • Day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 27, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

December 

  • Saturday, December 5, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 12, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 13, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Monday, December 14, 7:30 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 15, 7:30 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 24, 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 31, 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

January 

  • Saturday, January 9, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 14 7:30 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • Friday, January 15 7:30 a.m. – 11: 59 p.m.

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 Healthplanfinderfrom Nov. 1, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021.

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, 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