Tag Archives: health insurance

Obamacare enrollment climbs in Kitsap

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About 300 more Kitsap residents were covered by health care plans purchased through the state’s exchange this year than in 2015, according to a report released earlier this month.

An additional 2,000 residents enrolled in the state’s expanded Apple Health (Medicaid) program over the same period.

As of September, the county was home to 5,206 residents covered by Qualified Health Plans and 43,936 covered by Apple Health.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange reported a more substantial jump in enrollment statewide.

The number of Washingtonians covered by Qualified Health Plans climbed by 13,581 in 2016, a 9 percent increase.

Enrollment is currently open for 2017 exchange plans. Customers who want their coverage to activate in January must enroll by Dec. 15. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31.

Enrollment in Apple Health is open all year.

For information, go to the Healthplanfinder website.

Fewer insurers offering exchange plans in Kitsap

clinic2_26273003_ver1-0_640_480Kitsap residents shopping for 2017 coverage through Healthplanfinder will have four insurers to choose from.

BridgeSpan Health Company, Group Health Cooperative, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington and Premera Blue Cross were approved to offer plans in Kitsap through the state exchange, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Regence Blue Shield and United HealthCare, which offered exchange plans in Kitsap in 2016, aren’t selling exchange plans in the county for 2017. United HealthCare dropped out of the state exchange entirely.

Three carriers — Group Health Cooperative, Group Health Options and Regence Blue Shield — are offering individual health plans in Kitsap outside of the exchange.

Here’s a breakdown:

Statewide, rates for plans sold in the individual market will increase by an average of 13.6 percent for 2017.

Insurers selling in Kitsap will raise rates by an average of 15.13 percent:

Open enrollment for the individual health insurance market starts Nov. 1, 2016 and runs through January 2017.

Enrollment in Apple Health (Medicaid) is open all year.

Click here for enrollment info.

Exchange will offer 107 health plans in Kitsap

Kitsap residents using the state exchange to shop for health insurance for 2016 will have far more options this year.

Consumers in Kitsap will have their choice of 107 plans offered by six carriers when enrollment opens Sunday, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. That’s a big jump from the 67 available for 2015. 

The increase was largely due to two major carriers, Regence BlueShield and United Healthcare, entering the market for the first time. Regence and United will offer a combined 52 plans through Healthplanfinder.

Moda Health, which sold plans in all counties in 2015, has dropped out of the exchange. 

About 5,000 Kitsap residents were enrolled in qualified health plans purchased through Healthplanfinder in 2015. Another 42,000 were enrolled in the state’s expanded Medicaid program. (See a detailed enrollment report here.)

Statewide, 143 individual plans will be offered through the health exchange for 2016, and 67 will be available outside the exchange. Rates increased an average of 3.9 percent from 2015.

Local navigators are available to help consumers wade through the enrollment process, or determine whether they’re eligible for free health care. See the Kitsap Public Health District website for more information.

The district is holding a special enrollment event Saturday at Kitsap Mall.

Exchange plan enrollment is open from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31. Medicaid (Apple Health) enrollment is open all year.

State health exchange opens, site goes down

blog.healthplanfinderUPDATE: The Healthplanfinder website will be down until 8 a.m. Sunday, according to its Twitter account.

The Washington health insurance exchange experienced some early turbulence Saturday during the launch of its open enrollment period. 

The Healthplanfinder website was taken down after it was discovered tax credit calculations weren’t accurate. These statements were posted on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange website:

1 p.m.

Washington Healthplanfinder is currently unavailable due to a quality control finding by our staff earlier this morning. Our staff is working with our system partners from the Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) to resolve incorrect eligibility results for 2015 health insurance premium tax credit amounts. We are working to fix this issue as quickly as possible and expect to be back online sometime tomorrow morning on Sunday, Nov. 16. Thank you for your patience as we work to ensure that customers receive correct information from Healthplanfinder.

11:25 a.m.

The Exchange’s quality control process has determined that 2015 tax credit amounts are currently being incorrectly calculated. As a result the Exchange is taking Washington Healthplanfinder offline in order to resolve the issue. 

In preparation for year two, the Exchange had in place quality control review to capture any irregularities that might appear in applications during the first few hours of open enrollment. 

This review process discovered that the state’s Eligibility System and Washington Healthplanfinder were providing 2015 tax credit amounts that were inaccurate, sometimes by as little as a few dollars. Understanding the challenge this could create for consumers, we are erring on the side of caution and taking the system offline to fully address the issue.

The Exchange and DSHS staff will be working closely together to identify the solution and hope to have the site back up as soon as possible. Privileged users are advised to not process paper applications until further notice.

Planned Weekend Maintenance:

Washington Healthplanfinder will be unavailable during the following time:

  • Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. to Sunday, Nov 16 at 5 a.m. 
  • Sunday, Nov. 16 at 8:30 p.m. to Monday, Nov 17 at 4 a.m. federal data services, DSHS and eligibility service maintenance

Users will see a message at wahbexchange.org that Healthplanfinder is closed for maintenance at this time. 

Follow business reporter Tad Sooter on Twitter at @tsooter. Contact him at tad.sooter@kitsapsun.com or leave a comment below.

Health exchange enrollment tops 3,500 in Kitsap as deadline nears

A total of 3,574 Kitsap residents had enrolled in private health insurance plans through the Washington exchange at the end of February, according to a report from Washington Healthplanfinder. Sign ups remained relatively slow, as they had since December.

Medicaid enrollment continued to climb steeply, with 18,369 enrolled through the exchange at the end of February. That included 10,017 residents signing up for Medicaid for the first time.

The deadline to apply for qualified private plans through Healthplanfinder is March 31. Applicants who file before 5 p.m. March 31 can qualify for coverage that activates April 1. Applicants who file before midnight can qualify for coverage that activates May 1.

The next enrollment period open from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15. Medicaid enrollment continues throughout the year.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who don’t have health insurance after the deadline could be charged penalties on their federal income tax return. You can find more information on the federal process here.