Thursday, March 27, 2014/lk
Washington Healthplan-finder officials are making a final push for residents to enroll in qualified health plans through www.wahealthplanfinder.org by the end of open enrollment (March 31).
Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said yesterday that similar to the federal government, this state is not extending the deadline from March 31 for those seeking coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.
More than 12,000 residents enrolled in plans this past week ahead of the deadline, which is four times the weekly enrollment average.
“The expected surge in last-minute enrollments has begun,” said Onizuka. “We’re urging residents who are still seeking coverage to complete their application as soon as possible to avoid missing this first open enrollment period.”
As part of the final push to remind Washingtonians of the March 31 deadline, residents can be on the lookout for an airplane in four Washington cities this week - Seattle, Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Yakima. The airplane will trail a banner message that reads: “March 31: Last Day to Get Health Insurance.
Customers must enroll and submit payment by 11:59 p.m. on March 31 for coverage effective May 1, 2014. Customers should anticipate longer than average wait times at the Customer Support Center or limited availability with navigators and insurance brokers.
Residents can call the toll-free Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633 or find in-person help through a navigator or broker via the Customer Support link on the homepage.
Healthplanfinder officials say if people are stuck with an enrollment problem, help is there. They explain if the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is aware of an issue with an application, officials will distribute notifications explaining that residents may be eligible to have their applications finalized after March 31 if they are prevented from enrolling due to a Washington Healthplanfinder system error. Those customers may call 1-855-923-4633 for further updates.
Since October of last year, 505,271 Washington residents have accessed free or low-cost coverage options. More than 390,000 individuals who have been previously covered through Apple Health have also renewed their coverage through wahealthplanfinder.org for a total of nearly 900,000 residents.
“While many customers finalized their applications this past week due to a March 23 deadline for coverage that starts April 1, we expect to see a similar trend again this week as we approach the final enrollment date,” said Onizuka.
Those who qualify for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) may enroll at any point during the year, as well as American Indians and Alaskan natives who are eligible for services through an Indian health care provider.