Washington Health Exchange Is Making Progress As New Deadline Approaches
The holiday frenzy isn’t the only deadline looming. For people who expect to have health coverage when the new year starts, the deadline to enroll for a health plan is December 23rd. But signing up through the state’s health exchange has been rough for the last several days. As of Tuesday morning, the site is back up and running.
Michael Marchand of the state’s health exchange admits these recent glitches might discourage some people from enrolling before December 23rd.
Marchand: “There are still some skeptical people out there with regard to, maybe not just what the products are but whether or not the site is stable enough for them to use it…we may see a big influx late January, February, into end of March deadline.”
March is the second deadline to sign up for health coverage, or pay a federal tax penalty. If you sign up in late March, coverage won’t kick in until May. The state exchange has been so focused on fixing the technical issues that it hasn’t been able to provide local partners with enrollment information. Jennifer DeYoung is an analyst with Seattle-King County Public Health, one of the agencies doing outreach work. She says those details help them figure out who’s enrolling and who might need more attention or help.
DeYoung: “We really are looking forward to getting more details from the state to better understand, are we attracting the young adults or are those who are enrolling are older adults or what are the different demographics, what are their race, ethnicity, the income levels of the folks enrolling. We’re really looking forward to getting those numbers soon.”
In the meantime, the county is sticking with its original game plan—they’re going into communities that are known to have high numbers of uninsured people. This Friday, it’s teaming up with the state exchange at an enrollment event at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. They hope to sign up an estimated 600 part time or seasonal workers who are not covered by the resort.
Copyright 2013 KUOW