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Health insurance exchange

Enrollment opens today

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 9:00 am

OLYMPIA - Washington residents without health insurance will be able to sign up for a health plan, beginning today. People have the option of using the Washington Health Plan Finder website, contacting a toll-free number and talking to people at local organizations trained to assist them in signing up.

People can enroll on the exchange beginning Oct. 1; federal law will require all Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014. Enrollment will be open through March 31, 2014 so people can familiarize themselves with the process, Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for Washington Health Care, said.

Moses Lake Community Health Center, Quincy Community Health Center and Columbia Basin Health Centers in Othello will have "in-person navigators" to help people examine their options and with the sign-up process, said a press release from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Columbia Basin Health also has offices in Connell and Mattawa, Roger Borden, administrator for the clinic's program, said.

Nine people at Moses Lake Community Health will be trained to help people in signing up, Chief Executive Officer Sheila Chilson said. Borden said Columbia Basin Health has five people on staff with the training.

People don't need to be patients at the clinic to take advantage of the service, Chilson said.

The online outlet is Washington Health Plan Finder, People also can talk with facilitators on the phone, 1-855-923-4633.

State officials expect a lot of activity the first couple weeks, said Trina Stout, spokesperson for Washington Health Plan Finder, and are confident that they can handle the rush.

People who sign up by Dec. 23 could get coverage by the Jan. 1 deadline, Frey said. But "it might take time to sort through your options," so for people who want to review plans, or have more complex circumstances, "it might be better to start (the application process) sooner rather than later," she said.

Washington Health Plan Finder administrators will sponsor a bus tour around the state to help people sign up for health insurance, Frey said. The bus tour starts Oct. 16; the itinerary will be announced.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • K McLeod posted at 3:01 pm on Fri, Oct 4, 2013.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    Just because you and some others think there is a problem doesn't necessarily make it so.

  • thinkingman posted at 6:26 am on Fri, Oct 4, 2013.

    thinkingman Posts: 88

    OK, smart guys, just what is your answer? As we all know, it is easy to sit and complain;but takes some constructive thought to get anything good accomplished. Guess,what? My insurances rates went up too, just as they have done for the past 10 years. The fundamental problem lies with the arrogant medical industrial complex as well as over-consumption of medical care by those who HAVE Cadillac insurance whether it be governmental or private. Maybe the ACA will "work" maybe it won't but at least it is an attempt to fix the problem. Sitting around like juveniles and screaming Socialism! will accomplish nothing. Never has...never will.

  • K McLeod posted at 8:58 pm on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    My Moses Lake doctor has quit his practice this month and our insurance premiums are going up 50% in Jan. for lesser coverage than current.

    All for the minority populous that has no insurance and probably will ignore the law and remain insurance-less when they discover that it isn't free and will have to PAY for it.

    Isn't Socialism grand?

  • concerned123 posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Oct 3, 2013.

    concerned123 Posts: 6

    Socialized medical care aka Obamacare is "not" the answer to better healthcare. IRS enforced payments with the information you provide them is not the way to go......have you ever noticed a friendly care giving IRS agent?......NOT! Fraud, inexperience, corruption and expense is in the waiting for this program forced on everybody with a sugar will get better care at the vet.