Washington State: 231.5 QHPs *after* removing cancellations; 11 days left to go

The Washington HealthPlan Finder issued a press release today urging people to #GetCovered before their upcoming January 15th Open Enrollment deadline. At first glance it looks like a pretty disappointing update ("over 231,00 QHPs"), since their previous update as of 12/15 was already 230,591, suggesting only a few hundred more people enrolled between December 16th - January 2nd...

Washington Healthplanfinder Reminds Residents It’s Not Too Late to Get Covered
Customers have until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15 to sign up for 2018 health and dental plans

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is reminding residents there is still time to sign up for 2018 health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. Customers have 12 more days to make their plan selections before the open enrollment period closes at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15.

With less than two weeks remaining until the deadline, more than 231,000 Washingtonians have already used Washington Healthplanfinder to secure their coverage for 2018. 

...however, when you read the next sentence, it provides some more context when compared to the prior report:

That updated total represents a 17 percent jump over the same period last year and includes 68,000 new customers and another 163,500 who chose to renew their coverage.

According to the 12/15 press release, the 230,591 consisted of:

  • 166,502 renewals and
  • 64,089 new enrollees

Today's press release shows that they actually added around 4,000 new enrollees...but this was mostly cancelled out by about 3,000 enrollees who were renewed going back into the system and cancelling their policies, either because they were inadvertently autorenewed or because they mistakenly think the individual mandate isn't in effect for 2018 (spoiler: it is). It also, I should note, clarifies the current tally as being at least 231,500 when you add the two.

In any event, WA residents still have until midnight on Jan. 15th to enroll, and are up a net 1,000 over the 12/15 tally.

“Now that the holidays are over, we are again seeing an increase in calls to the Customer Support Center and visits to the website,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Customers seeking health insurance are urged to use the days remaining to compare their options on Washington Healthplanfinder and secure their coverage by Jan. 15.”

Those customers who have already selected plans for 2018 should activate their coverage by paying their first month’s premium. Most insurance companies will send their customers a bill for premium payment within seven days of confirming a plan. Coverage will not begin until the total amount of the bill is paid.

Information on submitting premium payments, including a list of which companies allow customers to pay directly through their Washington Healthplanfinder account, is available at www.wahbexchange.org/payments.

Customers still applying for coverage may continue to utilize the in-person help provided by the Exchange’s network of trained navigators and brokers. Finding a nearby navigator or broker may be done by clicking the “Customer Support” link on wahealthplanfinder.org, downloading the all-new WAPlanfinder mobile app, or visiting one of 12 enrollment centers and broker affiliate sites located throughout the state.

Additional help is available by calling the toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) 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 next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder began on Nov. 1, 2017 and concludes on Jan. 15, 2018.