Washington Health Plan Finder had one of the most troubled launches of any health marketplace, even more so than the glitch-plagued federal exchange.
When HealthCare.Gov launched, shoppers could at least access the homepage. But in the Evergreen State, the entire marketplace site was down. If you tried to visit the site Oct. 1, you got internal server error messages.
This makes it all the more surprising that, six days later, Washington is now posting some of the highest enrollment numbers in the country. The state has had nearly 9,452 people sign up for coverage since Oct. 1. The enrollments have largely been in the Medicaid program, however, with 916 people buying private insurance.
There are an additional 10,497 people who have submitted applications for health coverage through the marketplace but are not actually enrolled, meaning they have yet to pay their first month’s premium. All told, that’s about 20,000 people who have taken a step toward signing up for coverage in Washington. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 960,000 people there without insurance — but we are only seven days into a six-month open enrollment period.
The article goes on to talk about user friendliness. And it looks like that is great. You can look at your options before you log on, so you can see what’s going on. I’ll say again (and now that it’s up) that you can find it here. If you need to apply, or just want to poke around, see what you can do. It’s easy, and it might save you some money.
I’d also point out that King County (at least) is also making an effort to help people get enrolled. They’re handing out fliers and holding events like this one in Lake Forest Park. I’d be curious to see what the breakdown is by county, and to see what other counties and locals are doing to get people enrolled.