OLYMPIA — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has added more customer resources and assistance to help people find and enroll in health coverage for 2018, the exchange said in a press release.
One of these tools is “Smart Planfinder,” which is meant to connect customers with plans that best fit their needs. Additional community-based locations are available now in the open enrollment that started Nov. 1.
Smart Planfinder customizes customers’ 2018 health plan choices based on personal factors including the types of prescription medicine they take, expected doctors’ visits during the year, and their preferred provider or hospital. The information used to tailor customer’s results is updated regularly and verified through outreach with providers and facilities in Washington state.
Customers are being provided a mobile-friendly shopping experience during open enrollment, with Washington Healthplanfinder now designed to better accommodate those comparing and selecting plans on a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, the exchange has unveiled WAPlanfinder, an app that allows customers to view their coverage from a mobile device. Most importantly, WAPlanfinder may be used to find nearby navigators, brokers, and in-person assistance sites.
“In-person help provided by trained navigators and brokers can lessen any confusion that may accompany shopping for 2018 coverage,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Our new mobile app, WAPlanfinder, allows customers to more easily find that help during open enrollment and then better manage their coverage once they’ve enrolled.”
Residents wanting in-person help also have the option of scheduling a visit or dropping by one of the 13 full-service enrollment centers and broker assistance sites located around the state. Each location is staffed with trained navigators and brokers who can guide residents through the enrollment process. Beyond those sites, individuals can connect with a navigator or broker in their area by clicking the “Customer Support” link on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) will provide additional support throughout the open enrollment period, hosting regular hours of operation on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Extended hours will also be offered leading up to important sign-up deadlines.
The previous open enrollment period saw more than 200,000 residents use Washington Healthplanfinder to enroll in a 2017 Qualified Health Plan. Since first going live in 2013, more than 1.8 million residents have connected with coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder to help lower Washington state’s uninsured rate to all-time low of 6 percent.
Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.
Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. The current open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder has a Jan. 1 for coverage starting Dec. 15.
In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Coverage is free and available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov.