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Health Care Enrollment Opens in WA, Nation

The new signup period for health insurance on the Washington State Health Exchange opens Saturday. Officials with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange say they hope to sign up 85,000 more state residents for health insurance by Feb 15th, in addition to the 140,000 already receiving insurance through the exchange.

Exchange spokesperson Bethany Frey says on Saturday in Spokane a sign up event will be held at Riverpark Square from 11am to 3pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.

Frey: “Then we’ll have navigators from our community organizations helping people sign up, and insurance brokers so if people help reviewing options, a broker can suggest a health insurance option to them based on their family’s needs.”

The enrollment period runs until the middle of February, but people need to sign up by December 23rd if they want coverage to begin on January 1st. Frey says about two thirds of current enrollees will be able to get automatic renewal of their current plan.

Frey: “We are however urging people to review their options, review the tax credit amount they are eligible this year, because do to a decrease in premiums for second lowest cost silver plans, which are tied to tax credits, some people may see their tax credits decrease.”

Frey says current enrollees will soon be receiving a letter in the mail, telling them various options available for renewing. Some won’t be able to renew automatically because the plan they are on is being discontinued.

The insurance commissioner’s office says last year about 38 percent of the estimated one million people without health insurance in the state were able to get coverage.

You can find out more information or sign up online at

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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