More than 7,400 on Peninsula sign up for health insurance through state exchange

Peninsula Daily News and news sources

PORT ANGELES — A total of 7,402 North Olympic Peninsula residents signed up for health insurance on Washington’s health care exchange through December, according to new state data.

Since health care reform launched Oct. 1, a combined 2,300 in Clallam and Jefferson counties were newly covered under Medicaid expansion as of Dec. 31, Washington Healthplanfinder reported Thursday.

Another 3,168 Peninsula residents had enrolled in Medicaid but were eligible under old Medicaid eligibility rules, and 1,934 signed up for a private health care plan through Washington Healthplanfinder.

According to the latest county-by-county breakdown of the enrollments, 1,167 in Clallam County enrolled in a private health plan — with or without a tax credit — in the first three months of the state-based insurance exchange.

Clallam County had 1,616 newly covered under Medicaid and 1,966 “Medicaid redeterminations,” which Washington Healthplanfinder defines as those who are newly enrolling but were eligible under old Medicaid eligibility rules.

In Jefferson County, 767 purchased a private health plan, 684 were newly covered under Medicaid, and 1,202 were Medicaid redeterminations.

Health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act took effect Jan. 1.

Statewide, 382,075 enrollments were completed through the exchange between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

Of those, 314,875 were newly eligible, previously eligible but not enrolled or previously covered through Medicaid.

Since the exchange opened in October, most of the newly insured signed up as individuals.

Nearly 80 percent of those buying private insurance earn less than $35,000 a year for an individual or $70,000 for a family of four.

People are signing up for health insurance in every county, with most enrollments in the counties with the most people.

More women than men are buying insurance or enrolling in free health coverage through Medicaid.

Shoppers are spread across the age bands, but more than half of enrollees are between 45 and 64.

The majority of shoppers chose a plan from Premera Blue Cross or its LifeWise Health Plan subsidiary. Premera and LifeWise are the only companies selling insurance in all 39 counties.

A county breakdown of the demographics of new enrollees was not included in Thursday’s report.

The total number of new enrollees on the North Olympic Peninsula was 1,390 in the first month, 3,691 through November and 7,402 through Dec. 13.

Washington Healthplanfinder officials attributed a spike of 233 in December enrollments in private health plans to a Dec. 23 deadline for coverage that began Jan. 1.

Open enrollment for private insurance through the exchange at www.wahealthplanfinder.org ends March 31.

Medicaid, known as Apple Health in Washington, does not have an open enrollment period.

Last modified: January 23. 2014 6:47PM
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