Health plans enrollment started up last Saturday

Washington Healthplan-finder, the online health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act in Washington state, launched its second open enrollment period for Qualified Health Plans this past Saturday.

New and returning customers will be able to compare 90 health insurance plans from 10 different insurance companies and see if they qualify for free or low-cost health coverage through wahealthplanfinder.org.

Residents must select and pay for a qualified health plan by Dec. 23, 2014 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2015.

The enrollment period extends through Feb. 15, 2015. Those who do not enroll in a health insurance plan in 2015 may be subject to a fine of $325 per individual or up to 2 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

“It’s important that Wash-ingtonians are aware of the shorter window to enroll this year,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “With twice as many health plan options to choose from, residents should take the time to weigh their options and consider their potential health care costs throughout the year before selecting a plan.”

Washington Healthplan-finder has been modified to be more user-friendly, featuring improved navigation, cost-saving reminders and a real-time news feed that will provide consumers with important updates.

The exchange has also increased staffing levels at the customer support center to manage the expected influx of questions.

Customers who need help enrolling may also locate an insurance broker or navigator by zip code through the customer support link on wahealthplanfinder.org.

New tools and resources are available at knowyourplan.org to help educate consumers about common health insurance terms and important information to consider when selecting a health plan.

More than one million people have already enrolled through Washington Healthplanfinder, with 85 percent of customers qualifying for free coverage or tax credits to lower their monthly insurance premiums.

As a result of last year’s open enrollment period, the state’s uninsured rate has dropped by 30 percent.



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