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HealthCare Checkup

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

Topic: Washington Health Benefit Exchange

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

July 21, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Washington health exchange sounds the alarm, questions Deloitte

One message came through loud and clear at today’s meeting of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s Operations Committee: It may not be time to panic about the health exchange’s problem-riddled invoicing and payments system, but it is time to sound the alarm and get all hands on deck. “We are really out of rope on this…

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Comments | Topics: Deloitte, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

July 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Lawmakers quiz health insurance exchange on glitches, budget

Lawmakers grilled officials from Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Thursday, making it clear they’ve heard plenty from constituents who say they’ve paid their premiums but still don’t have health coverage — in most cases because premiums, which they paid to the exchange, aren’t getting to the insurer. “We’ve all heard a lot,” said Rep. Eileen…

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Comments | Topics: Healthplanfinder, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

June 26, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Costs to run state health exchange to exceed tax revenue

Logo for the state's insurance exchange.

Logo for the state’s insurance exchange.

Officials with the state’s health insurance marketplace estimate that they will need at least $53 million next year to keep the exchange running.

That amount is more than the $40 million that has been allocated by the state Legislature, but far less than the $127 million the insurance exchange expects to spend this year. Officials with Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the marketplace, presented their first crack at a budget at a meeting before their board in SeaTac on Thursday.

Where the money will come from — whatever the amount –  is unclear. The exchange is supposed to be self-sustaining by Jan. 1 of next year. The exchange is supposed to be self-sustaining by Jan. 1 of next year. The $40 million is expected to come primarily from a 2 percent tax levied on insurance premiums. Beginning this year, proceeds from that tax as assessed on plans sold through the Washington Healthplanfinder will go toward operating the exchange. If the tax doesn’t raise sufficient funds, the exchange can also assess a fee on insurers selling plans through the exchange beginning next year to make up the difference.

Many board members expressed concern that $53 million wasn’t going to be enough to make sure the exchange would run well and have enough outreach to meet enrollment goals.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

June 12, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Enrollment surge reduces state’s uninsured by more than 370,000

This year, more people bought individual plans outside the Washington Health Benefit Exchange than inside, for a total of more than 327,000 plans sold during open enrollment. In the latest number-crunching exercise, analysts from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) found that 79,000 more people are enrolled in individual insurance now than in 2013. Overall —…

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Comments | Topics: enrollment, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

May 13, 2014 at 11:04 PM

County survey: For Medicaid patients, access to primary-care may not be as advertised

Using “mystery shoppers” looking for access to health care, Public Health – Seattle & King County has found troubling indications that access to primary-care providers may not be as advertised. About three-quarters of the time, primary-care providers listed as accepting new patients on Medicaid managed-care organization websites in fact told the “shoppers” they were not accepting…

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Comments | Topics: access to primary care, Affordable Care Act, Dr. David Fleming

May 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Ron Sims to lead board overseeing state’s health insurance exchange

Ron Sims is taking the helm of Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Board, which oversees the state’s health insurance exchange. Sims was appointed chair of the board by Gov. Jay Inslee, according to an announcement made today by the exchange. The exchange, called the Washington Healthplanfinder, was created under the Affordable Care Act and…

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

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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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, enrollment

March 3, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Need insurance help? Prepare to wait.

The number of Washington residents insured through the state’s health insurance exchange keeps rising, but those struggling with their applications still face lengthy waits for help.

The state’s toll-free help line has been swamped since the launch of Washington Healthplanfinder this fall. The center has increased its staff from about 135 customer representatives in October to 525 now.

More than 106,000 residents have bought insurance through Healthplanfinder, the state’s insurance marketplace, according to the latest weekly report released Monday. An additional 322,000 people have used the site to sign up for Medicaid for the first time, including those who are newly eligible thanks to the expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act and those who previously qualified but did not enroll.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Michael Marchand, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

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,…

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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…

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

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