Enrollment jumps 40 percent on Washington's online insurance finder
Peninsula Daily News news services
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Nearly 49,000 state residents have enrolled in coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder between its launch Oct. 1 and Oct. 25, according to data released Monday by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
That is an increase of about 14,000 over enrollment figures through Oct. 21.
Of the residents who have enrolled, nearly 6,400 have signed up for the “qualified health plans” that insurance companies are offering through Healthplanfinder in the individual market for coverage in 2014.
That is an increase of 40 percent over the week before, the exchange noted.
The other 42,000 residents have enrolled in Medicaid coverage.
“We're pleased to see a consistent drumbeat of enrollment through Washington Healthplanfinder,” exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said in a statement.
An additional 92,000 Washington residents have completed applications, about 20,000 more than the previous week.
Among that group, more than 76,000 applicants are in households in which at least one member is enrolled in a qualified health plan.
Applicants have completed the entire process of enrollment except the final step, providing payment information for the first month's premium.
That payment is not due until Dec. 23.
Average wait times to get through at the call center remain high, at 21 minutes.
Exchange officials reiterated that they intend to add 145 customer service representatives answering calls to its toll-free hotline during the next six to eight weeks to try to alleviate long wait times.
The additional staff will nearly double the number of call center employees.
Washington continues to report some of the strongest enrollment figures among all of the states running their own health plan exchanges.
It is one of the few online marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act that has a functioning website.
But like the national health insurance site — used in states without their own exchanges — it has had problems.
In additional to sporadic service outages and long wait times on the hotline, the state exchange last week acknowledged that it had overestimated health plan tax credits for about 8,000 Washington residents.
Those residents were being notified of the mistake.
The Washington Healthplanfinder is online at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
Or you can phone 855-923-4633 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On the North Olympic Peninsula, public hospitals and agencies offer face-to-face help. They are:
■ Olympic Area Agency on Aging — 411 W. Washington St., Sequim, 360-452-3221; 481 Fifth Ave., Forks, 360-374-9496; and 915 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-2552.
■ Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics — 909 Georgiana St., Port Angeles, 360-457-4431.
■ Olympic Medical Center — 939 Caroline St., Port Angeles, 360-417-7000.
■ Jefferson Healthcare hospital — 834 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-2200.
■ Jefferson County Public Health Department — 615 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-9400.
■ Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Port Angeles Health Center — 426 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles, 800-230-7526.
■ Forks Community Hospital, 530 Bogachiel Way, 360-374-6271.
In addition, check with your local insurance broker.
Last modified: October 29. 2013 6:03PM