The phones are ringing at the call center where customer service representatives are available to answer questions about the Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s new health insurance exchange.
The call center, located in Spokane, opened on Tuesday and took 900 calls that day.
Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, says the first call came in before 7:30 a.m., the official start time.
There were more than 100 calls within the first hour, he told the board of the exchange at its Wednesday meeting.
Onizuka and other members of the exchange staff were on-hand at the call center for its opening.
“By five o’clock in the afternoon we had 500 calls,” he said.
By 8 p.m., when the call center closed, customer service representatives had handled more than 900 calls, according to Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand.
Onizuka said there were about 60 customer service representatives working at the call center Tuesday, including about half a dozen Spanish speakers. There are about 80 customer service representatives altogether.
Most of the calls on the first day were about eligibility and enrollment. There were seven calls in Spanish, Onizuka said.
Representatives were able to help callers use the cost-estimate calculator available at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
“A lot of the folks who were calling in seemed to be very pleasantly surprised at what they would be able to qualify for in terms of financial assistance,” Onizuka said.
The number of calls declined to about 650 the second day, according to Marchand.
The call center is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The toll-free number is 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633). Washington residents can also email questions to email@example.com.