Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

Free in-person help to enroll in affordable health insurance

 

October 15, 2013



Uninsured and underinsured people under 65 can get free, unbiased enrollment help for health insurance with 65 assisters at 18 sites in Snohomish County, including the Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 208, Everett, Wash.

Why the in-person help? There are a lot of choices available under the new federal health plan for people who don’t currently have health insurance to cover preventive services, unexpected illness or current medical conditions. Nine health insurance issuers have been approved by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to provide 57 Qualified Health Plans totaling 229 plan options for individuals and families through the state’s new online health insurance marketplace.

You do not have to get in-person help if you don’t need it. People can apply online at Washington Healthplanfinder or phone 1.855.923.4633 for more information. The site also is loaded with good information about eligibility and estimated costs.

An estimated 75,200 uninsured residents in the county are eligible to select health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Those who don’t have insurance now, and those who currently purchase their own insurance rather than getting it through an employer are eligible. If you have health insurance through your employment, you do not need to change it.

Because the Snohomish Health District supports expanded access to health care, it is housing in-person assister (IPA) staff in its Everett offices for the next year for the Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Advancement (WAHA). WAHA is one of 10 regional lead organizations in the state, and oversees implementation of the IPA program in the North Sound Region encompassing Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties. The IPA Enrollment Specialists at the Health District will see people by appointment only—no walk-ins. Call 425.339.8649 to reach the WAHA staff at the Rucker Avenue site.

Each interested Snohomish County resident needs to fill out an intake form to bring to the appointment. The IPA can mail one to you when you call for an appointment, or you can download one from the WAHA website.

“All of the IPAs in the county are trained and certified to help people complete the Healthplanfinder application and enroll in expanded Medicaid or a qualified health plan,” said Wendy Nelson, IPA Coordinator for 11 partner agencies in Snohomish County. “We are neutral and unbiased and the service is free.” She said that individuals who are very low income may get free insurance, and those with higher incomes may be eligible for tax subsidies that help pay for insurance premiums.

Starting January 1, 2014, nearly everyone in Washington State will have access to health insurance that provides these essential health benefits:

• Regular check-ups, preventive & wellness services, & chronic disease management • Maternity & newborn care • Hospitalization • Emergency care • Mental health & substance disorder services • Prescription drugs • Laboratory services • Ambulatory services • Rehabilitative service & habilitative devices • Pediatric services, including dental & vision

 

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