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Posted 2/9/18 / Affordable Health Insurance
The number of customers who signed up for 2018 health insurance coverage through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange rose dramatically over last year, despite uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
More than 242,000 customers signed up for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Washington Healthplanfinder by the close of open enrollment on Jan. 15 – an eight percent increase over the previous year.
This increase was mostly due to Regence, Kaiser, Lifewise, and Premera cancelling almost all of their Non-Exchange plans, and almost all of their PPO Plans as well. With so many consumers having plans cancelled, the only place to purchase individual coverage was in the exchange.
In addition to the unprecedented number of QHP selections, more than 66,000 residents signed up for dental coverage in its second year as a product offered through Washington Healthplanfinder. The number of Qualified Dental Plan (QDP) selections reflected a 12 percent increase over 2017.
“It is clear that having health insurance is important to the people of our state,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Despite any uncertainty or confusion surrounding the marketplace, more Washingtonians than ever now understand the value and peace of mind that comes with having health and dental coverage for both themselves and their families.”
The 12-week open enrollment period, shortened from 14 weeks last year, also saw higher website engagement with more than 1.2 million unique visitors to wahealthplanfinder.org. Website traffic numbers represent an increase of more than 16,000 when compared to open enrollment for 2017 coverage.
All customers who are now signed up in QHPs and QDPs for 2018 coverage are asked to activate their coverage by paying their first month’s premium. Insurance companies typically send a bill for premium payment within the first seven days of finalizing a plan selection. That bill must be paid for coverage to begin.
Customers who were enrolled in a QHP during 2017 should now be on the lookout for their 1095-A form that will be sent out beginning the week of Jan. 22. Those forms are used to reconcile any tax credits that were received to lower premium costs in the previous year. Customers may expect to receive their 1095-A form in the mail or sent electronically. Digital copies can also be accessed in customers’ message centers available by signing into Washington HealthPlan Finder or using the mobile app.
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