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Health coverage signups begin Wednesday

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Help available for state employees, consumers using WA HealthPlanFinder

 

OLYMPIA (Oct. 31, 2017) — In this Washington, we are trying to make sure more people have access to health care.

Tomorrow is a big day in that effort as open enrollment begins Wednesday, Nov. 1 for state employees and for consumers seeking health insurance through Washington HealthPlanFinder. The Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 has the scoop here for state employees, describing what options are available to them and how to enroll.

Meanwhile, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has announced 13 statewide locations that will offer in-person assistance to customers of Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s 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 open enrollment period takes place from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, 2018.

These customer support locations will include six full-service enrollment centers and seven broker affiliate sites staffed with trained navigators and brokers who will be available to personally guide Washingtonians through the process of enrolling in health and dental coverage.

“Increased rates will impact customers very differently depending on where they live and their eligibility for subsidies,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “It is especially important that all customers who have questions related to their insurance coverage, and would like 1:1 assistance, connect with a skilled broker or navigator who can help them understand their coverage options and enroll in coverage that best meets their needs.”

After their successful debut last year, enrollment centers will return in both Spokane and Vancouver for the upcoming open enrollment period. Additionally, new centers will be opening in Federal Way, Olympia and Tukwila, as well as a second location in Vancouver. Enrollment affiliate sites will be stationed in Bellingham, Burlington, Lakewood, Puyallup, Seattle, Sumner and Vancouver. Last year the Exchange had nine such locations statewide.

Addresses and contact information for each of the 13 locations offering in-person assistance.

Locations were selected by the Exchange based on prior experience with enrollment and assistance, as well as the remaining number of uninsured individuals residing in their service area. All sites are required to host regular business hours and offer extended availability leading up to important enrollment deadlines. Residents are encouraged to schedule appointments with a navigator or broker in advance of the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1.

The announced in-person assistance sites strengthen an extensive network of existing navigators and brokers who are available to provide in-person help in communities throughout Washington state. Residents seeking in-person assistance from trained navigators and brokers may find that help in their area by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

Residents may also use the new WAPlanfinder Mobile App to locate nearby in-person assistance and find updated information about their coverage. Additional assistance is available over the phone by calling the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

About Washington Apple Health

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Coverage is free and available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like 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.

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