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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

April 23, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Coordinated Care adds Seattle Children’s to network

Coordinated Care Health, whose “Ambetter” plans are sold through the Washington Healthplanfinder, has added Seattle Children’s to its network of providers. The insurer took a lot of heat last year for not including Seattle Children’s, which sued last year to force the insurance commissioner to require plans to include Children’s, arguing that it has unique services…

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0 Comments | Topics: Coordinated Care, Healthplanfinder, network adequacy

April 22, 2014 at 3:40 PM

White House thanks Seattle CEO for health-care outreach

Teresita Batayola, CEO of International Community Health Services.

Teresita Batayola, CEO of International Community Health Services.

The White House this week is thanking the leader of a Seattle-based health organization for her work educating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the Affordable Care Act.

Teresita Batayola is chief executive officer of International Community Health Services (ICHS), which has medical and dental clinics in neighborhoods including Seattle’s Chinatown International District and at two schools.

During the recent Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period, ICHS staff helped nearly 6,000 people purchase insurance through the state’s insurance exchange and sign up for Medicaid. In addition to working with patients at their clinics, the staff also held enrollment events out in the community.

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0 Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, International Community Health Services

April 16, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Individual insurance plans up by 17 percent

Nearly 325,000 people have enrolled in individual insurance plans in Washington, marking the first time in four years that group has grown significantly, according to figures released Wednesday by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The numbers, reported by health insurers as of March 31, represent an increase of almost 17 percent from the total before…

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April 8, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Missed health-insurance signup deadline? Here’s what to do

It’s “follow the rules” time for folks who missed the deadline to sign up for a private health plan through Washington’s Healthplanfinder but who still want insurance. If you couldn’t finish — or even start — an application, you’ll need to get a special dispensation from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange to move ahead. So keep reading, and we’ll tell…

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April 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Insurance enrollment spikes on final day; state softens stance on extensions

Procrastinators gave a giant bump to the number of health plans sold through Washington’s new exchange, with 8,000 people enrolling during the final day of sign ups. By the close of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period on March 31, more than 146,000 residents bought insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder. Nationally, the White…

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0 Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, enrollment

March 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Healthplanfinder’s two brief outages may have been triggered by feds

So far, Washington state’s health exchange website — Washington Healthplanfinder — has held up very well under the increased activity as tonight’s deadline for signing up approaches. The website did experience two very brief outages, and there are indications that those outages may be related to troubles on the Federal Data Services Hub. According to Curt Kwak,…

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March 31, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Rush of health insurance sign ups in final hours

In the last days to sign up for health insurance, thousands of people around Washington flocked to enrollment events or logged on themselves to find coverage.

“Our clinics have been flooded all morning and our call center has been fielding calls this morning from people wanting to know what they should do to enroll,” said Elizabeth Winders, manager of Medicaid programs with HealthPoint, a nonprofit that operates multiple King County area health clinics.

“And the website went down for a while earlier,” Winder said by email on Monday. “It’s going to be a crazy day.”

According to preliminary numbers, approximately 140,000 people had purchased insurance plans through the state by the end of the weekend, said Michael Marchand spokesman for the Washington Healthplanfinder exchange. That’s a bump of about 9,000 people over four days.

Under the Affordable Care Act, March 31 is the last day for the uninsured to get coverage or face a penalty for going without health insurance.

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March 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Huge increases in health exchange queries

The customer-support call center of the Washington Healthplanfinder has seen a huge in crease in calls the past several days,” said Bethany Frye, spokeswoman for the exchange. Specifically, the call center received approximately 20,000 calls on Friday. By 1 p.m. today, deadline day for insurance-plan signups, the call center had already received 4,300 calls. “If people need help today…

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March 31, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Healthplanfinder site holding up on deadline day as visits surge

It’s D-Day for Washington state’s health insurance exchange, with the midnight deadline for signups only hours away. While there have been reports of short outages of the website, each time we called up the site it has been available, though pages do sometimes have small delays in loading. According to Bethany Frye, spokeswoman for the exchange, the…

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March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Insurance sign-ups surge in final days

Ad promoting the state's health insurance exchange.

Ad promoting the state’s health insurance exchange.

In the last few days that people can buy health insurance for this year, the state is at last seeing a surge in sign ups.

So how fast are people scrambling to get coverage? In the past three days, nearly 6,000 people have bought insurance — approximately the same number of sign ups as were completed the first two weeks of March. About 131,000 people have purchased insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s insurance exchange.

State officials are still ramping up their advertising and outreach to get as many people as possible enrolled by the March 31 deadline.

“The need is to create a sense of urgency,” Michael Marchand, spokesman for the exchange, explained Thursday to the board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which  oversees the marketplace.

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0 Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, enrollment

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