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HealthCare Checkup

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

October 2, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Between fried chicken and bingo, a few words about health insurance

About 150 children and parents gathered Tuesday evening at Redmond Elementary School, in Redmond, for a “family fun night” co-sponsored by the YMCA.

Between the fried-chicken dinner and the start of bingo, they also listened to a short speech from the city’s mayor about Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online insurance marketplace, which opened for the first time earlier in the day.

Standing at a microphone in the school’s lunchroom, Mayor John Marchione raised his voice above the din to talk about opportunities to enroll in free or low-cost health insurance through the state’s new exchange.

Marchione urged parents to find out if their families qualify for coverage and premium subsidies. “The goal, for me, is to have healthy people in Redmond,” he said.

Down the hall, in the music room, three outreach-and-enrollment specialists from Public Health—Seattle & King County had set up laptops and were prepared to help start the enrollment process for anyone who was interested.

Several families stopped by the music room to ask questions. One family got as far as creating an account on the Healthplanfinder website, said outreach worker Callista Kennedy.

Redmond, like other cities in King County and around the state, plans to hold a number of events during the next several months to educate residents about Healthplanfinder and help them through the enrollment process.

Before his speech, Marchione commented that “people outside of Redmond think of it as a very wealthy suburb. But poverty does exist here, and so do the uninsured.”

The city estimates that about 11 percent of its adult residents between 18 and 64 lack health insurance.

That figure includes about 4 percent who are eligible to enroll in Medicaid, which the state is expanding to include adults with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or a little under $16,000 a year for an individual.

The figure also includes about 4.5 percent who are eligible to receive premium subsidies, if they purchase coverage through the exchange, Marchione said.

 

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