Tag Archives: healthplanfinder

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.

43,000 Kitsap residents enrolled in Medicaid

apple.healthRoughly one in six Kitsap County residents are now enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, called Apple Health.

A total of 43,833 people living in the county have signed up for Apple Health, according to a Tuesday report from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Kitsap ranked 10th among Washington counties for Apple Health enrollment.

Another 5,328 residents enrolled in qualified plans offered through the state’s individual health insurance marketplace, ranking eighth among Washington counties.

QHPStatewide, 1.52 million residents have enrolled in Apple Health and 169,000 purchased qualified health plans, according to the report.

The report highlighted statistics from the insurance marketplace’s most recent open enrollment period, which ended Jan. 31. Enrollment in Apple Health continues year-round.

Kitsap County’s uninsured rate fell steeply after the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program. Kitsap had the smallest percentage of uninsured residents in the state in 2014.

You can read the full enrollment report here. 

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.

Health exchange no longer handling payments

healthplanfinderThe state health exchange is getting out of the payment processing business.

Beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, customers who bought insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder will make premium payments directly to their insurance carriers.

Healthplanfinder will no longer accept payments. Billing questions should also be directed to the insurance companies, according to a news release.

The change does not affect business customers or Apple Health (Medicaid) customers.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange board voted to make the change last December after hearing complaints from customers and insurance companies, according to a news release.

“By taking the Exchange out of the payment process, customers and insurance companies can work directly on any accounting-related issues,” interim Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan said in the release. “This frees the Exchange to do what we do best.”

Billing was not what the Exchange and its partners did best.

Healthplanfinder was plagued by glitches over the past two years. A tax calculation error derailed Healthplanfinder on the first day of open enrollment for 2015.

In February the Exchange mistakenly double- and  triple-charged customers for March insurance coverage. The agency promised to have the charges reversed within 48 hours. But, as I chronicled on this blog, it took weeks for one Poulsbo woman to get her account sorted out.

The open enrollment period for 2016 health plans begins Nov. 1.

The Exchange has the following tips for existing customers as they transition to paying insurance companies directly:  Continue reading

Woman triple-billed by health exchange still waiting for fix

Two weeks ago we brought you the story of Cathy Kelley, a Poulsbo resident who was among the 13,000 customers mistakenly over-billed by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange for March health coverage.

healthplanfinderThe Exchange promised a speedy resolution to the error.

Kelley kept in touch via email after the story ran and provided regular updates on the circus that ensued.

To recap, Healthplanfinder billed Kelley $1,043.88 for her insurance plan in March, instead of her usual $347. She spotted the error and had her bank put a stop on the automatic withdrawal, blocking the exchange from taking the money out of her account.

While rushing to reimburse customers for funds it had mistakenly withdrawn, the Exchange credited $1,043.88 into Kelley’s account — replacing money it never actually removed.

A week later, Kelley received an email asking her to mail in a check for $1,043.88 to repay the Exchange for the money it had credited to her account to replace the money it thought it had mistakenly withdrawn from her account.

Kelley mailed in the check.

All that flailing took care of the triple-billing debacle, except the $347 payment for Kelley’s March insurance (due Feb. 23) still hadn’t been processed.

The Exchange assured Kelley her insurance coverage would not be interrupted and the correct payment would be processed by March 11. As of the 12th, the payment had not been withdrawn, she said.

So, more than two weeks after the initial error, Kelley is still trying to do what she was trying to do in the first place: Pay for her March health insurance.

She did receive a very apologetic letter from exchange CEO Richard Onizuka, which is posted below:


Deadline nears for health plan exchange signups

healthplanfinderThe deadline is approaching fast for Washington residents who want to buy private plans through the state health insurance marketplace.

Sunday, Feb. 15, is the final day to enroll in qualified health plans through Healthplanfinder. Customers who select and pay for their plans by 10 p.m. that day will have their insurance activate March 1.

Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollment continues all year.

Free signup assistance is available through Kitsap Public Health District and the exchange’s support network.

About 1,300 Kitsap residents had signed up for qualified plans through the exchange by the end of January. Another 3,127 renewed their plans.

This was the second open enrollment period for the fledgling Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Last year, 4,950 Kitsap residents signed up for qualified health plans.

More details on the Feb. 15 deadline can be found here. Full county-by-county enrollment statistics are posted below:

Tuesday deadline for health exchange plans

healthplanfinderIf you’re interested in buying health insurance through the state exchange, and want your plan to kick in Jan. 1, you need to sign up by the end of  business Tuesday.

Customers renewing their Qualified Health Plans through the exchange also need to sign up by 5 p.m. Dec. 23 for Jan. 1 coverage.

Those who aren’t worried about getting their coverage on New Years Day can still enroll through Feb. 15. Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollment continues year-round.

The enrollment period began Nov. 15. About 10,000 Washington residents signed up for private plans through Healthplanfinder  by Dec. 11 and another 46,000 renewed coverage, according to a news release. An additional 480,000 had accessed Medicaid coverage.

This is the second year for the state’s health exchange.

Healthplanfinder error cancels enrollment for 6,000

A glitch in the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s Healthplanfinder website cancelled enrollment and payments for 6,000 customers who’d bought qualified health plans for 2015.

Those customers are being asked to reconfirm their plan selection and resubmit payments (see the statement below for details). The Exchange board has ordered a full review of the website, according to a Tuesday statement.

The enrollment error is the latest in a series of glitches identified in the online insurance marketplace this fall, including a tax credit miscalculation error discovered on the first day of open enrollment. The Exchange is in the midst of its second enrollment period, after debuting in 2013.

Here is the full statement from Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka regarding the enrollment error discovered today. Continue reading

Health exchange website back online Sunday

The Washington health insurance exchange website was back up and running Sunday morning.

Exchange staff took down the Healthplanfinder website hours after the launch of the open enrollment period Saturday, when it  was discovered tax credits were being incorrectly calculated.

The glitch was fixed and the site relaunched at 8 a.m. Saturday, according to a statement from Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka:

At 8 a.m., Washington Healthplanfinder was open, available and correctly receiving 2015 tax credit information from the state’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) eligibility service. 

Soon after opening yesterday morning, our quality control team saw that the 2015 tax credit amounts coming from the state’s eligibility system were incorrect. In order to protect consumers from submitting incorrect applications, the Exchange took Washington Healthplanfinder offline to resolve the issue.  The Exchange worked with its system partner DSHS to identify the tax credit issue, implement the necessary fix and test the system throughout the evening to ensure it was resolved.

The Exchange’s new system and application monitoring processes allowed us to quickly identify this issue. The speed in recognizing that Washington Healthplanfinder was receiving incorrect tax credit data prevented thousands of consumers from running into issues with their applications.

We have identified fewer than 800 customers who had their eligibility determined incorrectly and less than 150 hundred customers who scheduled payment. We will be contacting each person to provide them with their accurate tax credit amount.

Our consumers are always top of mind in making any decision related to Washington Healthplanfinder. Consumers expect to be selecting and purchasing health coverage with the correct information.  While we recognize that this Saturday was an inconvenience, being able to provide correct information to our customers is paramount to what we do.”