Getting sick isn’t something anyone plans to do. But, at some point in everyone’s life, they will need medical care. Health Insurance helps cover the costs associated with this care. However, for some, affording health insurance isn’t something they think is possible. That’s where the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) comes in.
Open enrollment for 2020 plans began November 1st and ends Sunday, December 15th. With the deadline only days away, the Exchange is urging those who have yet to sign up for health and dental plans to do so as soon as possible.
Almost 95% of Washington State residents are currently covered by health insurance. In 2019, roughly 200,000 individuals were enrolled in and paying for qualifying health insurance plans on the Exchange. Michael Marchand, Exchange chief marketing officer shared that as of Monday approximately 191,000 individuals have selected plans for 2020.
“It is important customers act now in order to secure coverage that begins on January 1,” said Marchand. “Help is available to all Washingtonians needing to go through the plan selection process. We encourage residents to utilize the Exchange’s customer support resources to select health and dental coverage that begins as soon as possible.”
The Exchange allows users to anonymously input their information to browse available healthcare plans. When selecting a health insurance plan, Marchand advises considering the annual cost, not just the monthly cost. A plan may cost a small amount more monthly but may cover more, ultimately resulting in annual savings. “Folks with families, or that are managing a chronic condition – think of what your plan will cover,” said Marchand.
Extending Hours to Assist with Enrollment
To ensure help is available for those signing up, the Exchange will have extended customer service call center (1-855-923-4633) hours beginning tomorrow, December 11th. The call center will be available from 7:30am to 8:00pm December 11-14th. On December 15th, the final day to sign up, the call center will be open from 7:30am until Midnight.
Lead Organization Enrollment Centers are available for in-person assistance. “Navigators are trained, certified representatives who can help you fill out the application,” explains the Exchange website. “Navigators must remain unbiased about which plan to choose but can help answer your questions as you move through the enrollment process.” The nearest Enrollment Center to Auburn is in Federal Way:
Public Health Seattle & King County
1640 S 318th Pl., Federal Way, WA 98003
Marchand advised that if individuals are new to signing up to ensure they have all required documents and information. Required information will include (but is not limited to) the legal names of those in your household, birthdates, social security numbers, mailing address, and current health plan information. A full checklist is available on-line.
Washington State’s Medicaid is called Apple Health. “Apple Health provides preventative care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services,” outlines the Healthcare Authority website.
Apple Health is based on household income. Enrollment is available year-round. While some parents or guardians may not be eligible for Apple Health, children may qualify.
“Don’t assume you can’t afford or don’t qualify [for a health plan],” encouraged Marchand, “it changes every year.”