Push for Health Care Sign Ups as Deadline Approaches - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Push for Health Care Sign Ups as Deadline Approaches

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OREGON - As supporters of the federal health care reforms push for final sign ups, a handful of states are pressing the reset button.  

They have botched the process so badly they are already looking beyond Monday's enrollment deadline to the next enrollment period this fall.  

Many states and the federal government experienced problems with the enrollment websites. But implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act has been a relative disaster in Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Vermont.  

Early projections for those five states were to sign up a combined 800,000 Americans for private health insurance by March 31st, 11% of the Obama administration's original target for national enrollment.  

With just days to go before the six-month enrollment period ends, achieving just 25 % of that target, or 200,000 people out of all of those states, would be considered a success.

In Washington state, there is also a final push for people to enroll in Qualified Health Plans. More than 12,000 residents enrolled in plans this past week ahead of the deadline, which is four times the weekly enrollment average.

Washington Apple (Medicaid) enrollment continues throughout the entire year, as well as enrollment in health plans for American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

"The expected surge in last-minute enrollments has begun," said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "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. #flybabybird."

Customers must enroll and submit payment by 11:59 p.m. on March 31 for coverage effective May 1, 2014. Washington Healthplanfinder offers these last-minute tips to get enrolled:

 

  • Get Help This Week: 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. Enrollment events are happening across the State this week. Find one here: http://www.wahbexchange.org/get-involved/community-events/.
  • Don't Wait Until The Very Last Minute: Washingtonians should enroll in health coverage as soon as possible if they have not yet taken action. Customers should anticipate longer than average wait times at the Customer Support Center or limited availability with Navigators and Insurance Brokers.
  • Be Aware of Site Down Times: The Exchange and its dependent state and federal partners perform regular maintenance to better serve our customers. Maintenance schedules are posted here: http://www.wahbexchange.org/news-resources/healthplanfinder-status-updates/
  • If You're Still Stuck, Help is There: If the Exchange is aware of an issue with your application, do not contact the Customer Support Center. The Exchange 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.

Since October 1st, 505,271 Washingtonians have now 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. 

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