Early Numbers From WA Health Exchange

Oct 8, 2013

Washington State’s Health Exchange is one week old. To date more than 9,400 people enrolled for health coverage.

Credit Credit Washington Health Benefit Exchange

More than half of the people who enrolled are newly eligible for Medicaid when the program expands in January. In addition, 10,000 more people have filled out applications but have yet to hit the purchase button.

Michael Marchand is spokesperson for the state’s Health Exchange. He says those numbers are a strong start despite the technical glitches in the first couple of days. He says the issue wasn’t the number of people that overwhelmed the site, but how they used it.

“If you think of it as, let’s say you have a museum, and you intend to have people go through the first floor and look at the exhibit, and then go to the second floor and look at the exhibits, and then go to the third floor and look at the exhibits and then exit out; you plan for that" says Marchand.

But on opening day, Marchand says people had their own ideas about where they wanted to go, and in what order.

“You open your doors and what happens is everyone runs into the museum and immediately goes to the dinosaur exhibit room on the second floor, you’re going to have an issue because that wasn’t necessarily what was planned for, and that was some of what we saw" says Marchand.

Marchand says traffic to the online marketplace continues to be robust. He says in the coming weeks, the agency hopes to analyze the numbers and get an idea of who the customers are and what kind of plans they’re buying.

Copyright 2013 KUOW.