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HealthCare Checkup

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

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Carol M. Ostrom.

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…



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…



March 18, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Premera CEO Gubby Barlow stepping down; Jeff Roe takes post

H.R. Brereton “Gubby” Barlow, who has led Premera Blue Cross since 2000, is retiring, the company said Tuesday. His successor, Jeff Roe, has been president of Premera since Jan. 1, a post previously held by Barlow. In the early 2000s, Barlow was the lead figure in a bid to transform the nonprofit company to a for-profit entity,…


0 Comments | Topics: Gubby Barlow, H.R. Brereton Barlow, Premera Blue Cross

February 25, 2014 at 7:32 PM

With deadline in sight, health-insurance signups rise steadily

With little more than a month to go before the March 31 cutoff to sign up for health insurance this year, Washington Healthplanfinder has passed a milestone, with more than 100,000 residents now enrolled in commercial health plans through the state’s online marketplace. Signups for the expanded Medicaid program topped 202,000 newly eligible adults as of Feb. 20,…


0 Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Richard Onizuka, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

February 19, 2014 at 4:52 PM

State using fake rappers, real patients in new health-insurance ad campaign

If you attend roller derby and ice hockey you may see something new: signs, booths and videos encouraging you — particularly if you’re young — to sign up for health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state exchange marketplace. The coveted “young invincibles” are the target of this new campaign, which is gearing up as the…


0 Comments | Topics: drug treatment, ice hockey teams, Macklemore

February 13, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Inslee pleases docs with focus on access to care

Doctors gathered in Olympia for the Washington State Medical Association’s 2014 Legislative Summit listened carefully for some key words in Gov. Jay Inslee’s address Monday, and were pleased to hear him claim some of their priorities as his own. Among them were potential shortages of physicians and other health-care providers and how to continue increased reimbursements for primary-care doctors…


0 Comments | Topics: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Dr. Dale Reisner

December 31, 2013 at 6:37 PM

State files to change Medicaid policy to recover only long-term care costs

Washington’s Health Care Authority, as promised, has filed an emergency rule to amend Medicaid’s estate recovery policy. Current policy allows Medicaid to recover all medical costs from a client’s estate after death, which caused some consternation among those signing up for health insurance through the state’s expanded Medicaid program. The change means that Medicaid can…


0 Comments | Topics: estate recovery, Health Care Authority, Medicaid

December 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Healthplanfinder signup deadline is still midnight Monday

The Obama administration’s deadline extension for health-insurance signups does not apply to Washington residents seeking insurance coverage by Jan. 1 on Washington Healthplanfinder, the online exchange marketplace. The deadline for Washington residents is still 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, Washington Health Benefit Exchange officials said Monday. Washington residents who start applications in Healthplanfinder by 11:59 p.m. Monday…


0 Comments | Topics: deadline, exchange, health insurance

December 20, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Healthplanfinder’s last-minute tips and updates

At Washington Healthplanfinder, the online exchange marketplace now processing applications for health insurance and tax credits, a last-minute surge means customer-support staffers will be working through the weekend. Over the past week, 17,000 people have enrolled, bringing the total to more than 50,000 individuals who have selected and bought a private health plan, Healthplanfinder officials said. The looming deadline for…


0 Comments | Topics: Apple Health, health insurance, Medicaid

December 18, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Rule to limit asset recovery for Medicaid enrollees coming by Dec. 31

The state’s Health Care Authority says it expects it will take until Dec. 31 to file an emergency rule to amend estate-recovery rules for Medicaid, the subject of a story in The Seattle Times this week. The state issued notice Monday that it would amend the policy to avoid “unintended consequences” for people enrolling…


0 Comments | Topics: asset recovery, emergency rule, Medicaid

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