Washington residents rushing to state’s ‘Healthplanfinder’

Washington Healthplanfinder officials last week released a comprehensive data report that shows about 57,000 residents enrolled in new health coverage options during October.

Washington Healthplan-finder is separate from the federal health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov, and is a new way for residents in Washington to find, compare and enroll in health plans and access financial help to lower their costs.

 The report includes information about enrollees, including their age ranges, enrollment by county and even enrollments by health plan “metal level” such as gold, silver and bronze. Some of the key takeaways from the report include:

 · 30 percent of site visitors have taken action. Nearly 500,000 individuals visited Washington Healthplanfinder in the first month. Of those individuals, more than 150,000 either fully enrolled in health coverage, completed an application that is awaiting payment or started an application.

 · Silver plans are the most popular. More than 60 percent of those who enrolled in a “Qualified Health Plan” enrolled in a silver level plan. This percentage is likely due to cost-sharing subsidies, a form of financial help that lowers additional out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays and deductibles, which can only be accessed through a silver level plan under the Affordable Care Act. Cost-sharing subsidies are separate from tax credits that lower monthly insurance premiums and can be viewed during the Washington Healthplanfinder shopping experience, based on eligibility.

· Residents are waiting to pay for Qualified Health Plans. More than 21,000 individuals have completed an application for a Qualified Health Plan that is awaiting payment due in December. It is expected that many of these individuals will submit their payment by the Dec. 23 due date for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014. More than 70,000 additional residents have applications that are in process.

 · The highest enrollments by age range are those under the age of 18 and those ages 26-34. Children under the age of 18 saw the highest level of enrollment, with 13,000 enrollments in Medicaid. Coming in second were those ages 26-34, with more than 11,000 enrolled. More than 6,000 young adults, ages 18 to 25, have already signed up for health coverage.

 · King, Pierce and Spokane counties include the highest enrollments. The most populous counties in the state saw the highest number of enrollments during the month of October, with nearly 14,000 in King County, 6,000 in Pierce County and 6,000 in Spokane County.

 “We are pleased with the enrollment and completed applications data represented in both Medicaid and Qualified Health Plans,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

“With 6,000 enrolled in Qualified Health Plans and another 21,000 individuals on applications awaiting payment due in December, this is a good start toward reaching our target of 130,000 with coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014.”

 Washington Healthplan-finder will continue to reach out to individuals through targeted communication efforts, including an integrated advertising campaign, social media, events and community partnerships. Additional focus will be placed on young adults in the coming weeks through new corporate partnerships and outreach work through a national non-profit called the Young Invincibles.

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