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Regional News

Sign-up Begins for Washington Health Exchange

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The sign up period for the Washington Health Plan has begun. This year it will run through December 15.

Officials say it should be easier this year to either renew your current policy, make changes, or sign up for the first time.

The Health Benefit Exchange’s Michael Marchand says one helpful tool on the exchange website is called the “Smart Plan Finder,” which will help an individual looking for a specific policy that is tailored to their individual needs.

“It allows you to put in certain facilities that you want to make sure are in your network, or certain medications that you are taking. Or allows you to gauge how many times you actually seek services, and it will run that for you so that the best choice as far as matching that ask, is in the top plan that you see displayed," Marchand said.

209,000 people enrolled in plans for 2018. Marchand says he expects about the same number will sign up this year. An estimated 6% of the population is uninsured. Some of those who might sign up include those who are currently on the expanded Medicaid (Apple Health) rolls or who now make too much to qualify for that program. Marchand says customers may be surprised at how affordable the Health Exchange plans are if they qualify for a federal tax credit.

“We want to make sure we don’t let any people slip through the cracks who may be leaving the Apple Health program in 2018, and are needing to purchase health insurance for their family because they may think it’s too expensive for them, but it’s actually not,” he said.

The exchange has also teamed up with the organization Better Health Together to offer in-person assistance to Spokane County residents. The enrollment center is located at 1206 N. Lincoln, Suite 105.