Washington State: 160K QHPs; "Tax Season" Enrollment Period Officially Announced

An hour ago I wrote about the WA HealthplanFinder re-launching a special Tax Season enrollment period which effectively just extends the enrollment period out by an extra 2 months. However, the press release wasn't posted openly on their site.

They just made it official...and along the way provided a rough QHP enrollment update:

Washington Healthplanfinder Closes with Surge in Enrollment, Announces Spring Special Enrollment Opportunity for Washingtonians to Avoid 2016 Penalty

Residents who were unaware of tax penalty may still have time to enroll

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 16, 2015, 10:00 a.m. PST

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that nearly 160,000 residents enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan through www.wahealthplanfinder.org by the close of open enrollment on Feb. 15. Washington Healthplanfinder experienced significant interest over the weekend, with 40,000 unique website visits and nearly 30,000 calls to the Customer Support Center.

"Interest in accessing free or low-cost health insurance among Washingtonians continues to grow," said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "As expected, we experienced a large influx in our Qualified Health Plan enrollment during the final days of open enrollment, and more than 66,000 new customers during the entire second open enrollment period."

Here's the "Tech Problems/Tax Season" part:

The Exchange also announced a special enrollment opportunity today for residents who were unable to complete their applications by the Feb. 15 deadline or who may become aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act when they file their annual tax return this year.

The special enrollment period runs from Feb. 17 to April 17, 2015.