health exchange

Affordable Care Act
5:01 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Who In Washington Deserves An Extension On Monday's Obamacare Deadline?

Ads from Washington's health exchange are urging people to get covered before the March 31 deadline.
Washington Health Benefits Exchange

Washington’s health exchange is wrestling with how to accommodate people who have had trouble signing up for insurance. The March 31 deadline has been looming for months, as officials urge people to get covered or face a fine.

But considering the well-known problems at the state and federal exchanges, officials figured some people will need an extension. The question is who gets it.

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Affordable Care Act
5:01 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington Health Exchange Banking On A Big March Surge In Enrollments

This screen grab shows Washington Healthplanfinder's website.

Most Americans who still don’t have health insurance by March 31 could face a fine, and Washington’s health benefits exchange is hoping the looming deadline will help motivate people to enroll. But so far, the exchange is lagging behind its goals.

Massachusetts, which served as a template for the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to get insurance or pay a penalty, saw a huge rush just before the deadline. Exchange board member Phil Dyer says Washington needs a similar surge.

“Well, I feel like we’re behind the power curve. We’ve got a long way to go,” Dyer said. “Let’s wait and see if March gets us there, and then take a hard look at planning for Exchange 2.0.”

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Affordable Care Act
9:49 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

On Wash. Health Exchange, Strong Numbers and Some Anxiety

Washington Health Benefits Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka is optimistic about early enrollment.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Washington’s new health insurance exchange has been touting its strong enrollment numbers, especially in comparison to the deeply-troubled federal exchange. But members of the board overseeing the exchange are starting to express some anxiety about meeting their signup goals.

The exchange reports 98,399 enrollments, as of mid-November. But the vast majority, 88 percent, are enrolled in the government-sponsored Medicaid program. The state needs to get many more people into private qualified health plans, or QHPs, to create a functioning market.

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Affordable Care Act
5:01 am
Mon November 18, 2013

For the 'Unbanked' in Wash., a Barrier to Accessing Obamacare

Patrick Semansky Associated Press

Washington’s health exchange has been a bright spot in the slipshod rollout of Obamacare, but one requirement for signing up could be a barrier to the very people the new law is supposed to serve.

To sign up for coverage on WAHealthPlanFinder.org, you have to make your first payment by credit card, debit card or electronic funds transfer from a bank account.

But recent studies show about one-fourth of Washington households are either “unbanked” with no access to an account, or “underbanked" with limited access. The number of those affected is even higher in low-income and minority communities to which many of the exchange’s target audience belong.

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Affordable Care Act
9:46 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Wash. Site Outage Linked to Federal Health Care Woes

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

The Washington state health care exchange website was temporarily down on Wednesday morning as a result of a digital snag in Washington, D.C.

Michael Marchand, spokesman for the state exchange, says Washington state's website depends on a component of the federal system to work. At the moment, it doesn't work, but once it's fixed, the state site can start accepting applications again.

He spoke to KPLU's Ed Ronco about the details during Morning Edition. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:24 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Strong Enrollment for Wash. Health Exchange, Medicaid Plan

On the day President Barack Obama acknowledged major flaws in the rollout of health insurance marketplaces, Washington’s exchange reported strong enrollment. Washington Healthplanfinder announced some 35,000 people have enrolled in a plan through the website, and another 56,000 are working their way through the process.

Michael Marchand, a spokesman for the exchange, said Washington’s site was designed to get the basics right.

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Affordable Care Act
11:46 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Brokers Get Creative to Keep Work during Change

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

When Jeff Lindstrom started buying health insurance-related Internet domain names a few years ago, he thought he was being a smart, creative businessman.

Lindstrom, an insurance broker who works in the Seattle area, bought 40-50 domain names and hit the jackpot with one choice: washingtonhealthplanfinder.org. No, that's not the state's new health insurance marketplace. That's Lindstrom's brokerage site.

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Affordable Care Act
4:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Suit Alleges Children's Hospital Left Out of Health Exchange Plans

jennyonthespot Flickr

Seattle Children’s Hospital has filed a suit against the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, alleging it was largely cut out of the state’s new health insurance exchange.

There are eight insurance companies on Washington HealthPlanFinder, the marketplace that opened this week for individuals shopping for coverage. Six of them don’t include Seattle Children’s Hospital in their networks.

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Affordable Care Act
2:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Washington Health Plan Website 'Cruising At 55'

Nelly Kinsella demonstrates the Washington Healthplanfinder website, where consumers will be able to shop for health insurance, following a news conference Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

After a rocky start, Washington’s Health Plan Finder website is now running smoothly, according to a spokesman for the state’s Health Benefit Exchange.

Michael Marchand said Friday users are not experiencing the same slowdowns and other problems that plagued the website earlier in the week.

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Affordable Care Act
9:40 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Day 2 of State Health Exchange: It's Working

Vera Johnson, right, reaches out to give support to Ben Smith after Smith spoke at a news conference about his two open heart surgeries and other serious medical issues he's had Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Seattle. Smith and Johnson have both enrolled in Wa
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington state's new health insurance exchange is open and ready for business on its second day of operation.

Computer problems closed the website for the health insurance marketplace for hours on Tuesday morning, its first day of operation.

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Affordable Care Act
11:55 am
Tue October 1, 2013

State Health Exchange Website Hits Snag on First Day

Nelly Kinsella demonstrates the Washington Healthplanfinder website, where consumers will be able to shop for health insurance, following a news conference Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Washington’s new health insurance exchange made a brief appearance Tuesday morning before going dark for much of the day. 

The site was supposed to come online at 7:30. Exchange officials say they quickly began receiving complaints that the site was loading slowly for some users, and not loading at all for others. Spokesman Michael Marchand says by 8:30, officials decided to pull the site offline to make repairs.

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Affordable Care Act
4:35 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Options Double for Wash. Health Insurance Exchange

File image
Paul Beaty AP Photo

The menu of choices on Washington’s new health insurance exchange now includes 43 different plans provided by eight companies.

Consumer choice will vary by county, but every county in the state will have at least two providers to choose from.

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Affordable Care Act
4:10 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Insurance Exchange Options in Limbo as Board Holds Out

Washington's health exchnage is set to go live October 1.
HealthCare.gov

The menu of health insurance plans that will soon be offered to Washington consumers is still up in the air. The board overseeing the new health benefits exchange is holding out for more choices.

Washington’s insurance commissioner has approved four providers to offer 31 plans on Washington HealthPlanFinder, the new online marketplace for individuals that’s supposed to launch Oct. 1.

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Affordable Care Act
5:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Choices for Health Coverage under Obamacare Coming into Focus

Governor Jay Inslee spoke at a recent event promoting the state's new health insurance exchange.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Washington consumers will know later this week what insurance plans they’ll have to choose from on the state’s new health exchange. Insurance companies face a Tuesday deadline to submit plans to the state.

Nine have applied so far to offer products on the Washington Healthplan Finder, the online marketplace where consumers can comparison-shop for coverage. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, requires those exchanges to be open for business by Oct. 1.

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Lost in Translation
7:01 am
Sun July 28, 2013

State's Translated Health Exchange Fact Sheets Get Poor Marks

Call it a case of “lost in translation.” Washington and Oregon’s new health insurance exchanges are getting poor marks for their efforts to communicate with foreign language audiences.

On the Washington Health Benefit Exchange website, you can find fact sheets in eight foreign languages, from Cambodian to Somali. These one- and two-page documents are supposed to help uninsured families navigate the new world of the Affordable Care Act.

But after the translations went live on the website, the feedback wasn't so good.

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