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More Options Available With Health Exchange Sign-up

The Washington state Health Exchange is poised to begin their new sign up period. This time around there will be even more insurance options, as well as a sign up available for small businesses.

Beginning November 15th, those looking to get health insurance through the state program will have the option of 82 different plans, compared with 46 last year. There are two new insurance carriers, bringing the total to 10. And this year for the first time, small businesses with fewer than fifty employees can shop for plans.

Michael Marchand: "And it will provide them with an opportunity to receive tax credits, by using the exchange essentially to manage their employees who are looking for health coverage through their firms."

Health exchange spokesperson Michael Marchand says small businesses can sign up on the exchange website and browse the plans offered beginning November 15th.

He says that  individuals who are already subscribed will be getting information in the mail soon with information about their current plan, with a checklist of their health needs. Those who want to switch plans will have that opportunity beginning the middle fo November, but if they want to stay on the current plan, they won’t need to do anything.

Marchand says there are about 150 thousand people who have signed up and paid for insurance currently, and they hope to add another 83 thousand by the close of the new enrollment on February 15th. About 450 thousand people were able to qualify for Medicaid in the expansion of the program.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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