Health insurance plan help is on the way

State exchange's mobile enrollment tour hits Vancouver

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

 

If you go

What: Washington Healthplanfinder mobile enrollment tour. Receive one-on-one assistance to enroll in Medicaid and health plans available on the state-based insurance exchange.

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., Vancouver.

Web

Help is coming for those having trouble enrolling in health plans through the new state-based insurance exchange.

Washington Healthplanfinder's statewide mobile enrollment tour is stopping in Vancouver this week.

The tour kicked off two weeks ago in Spokane and features a Healthplanfinder trailer equipped with laptops connected to the state insurance exchange, where uninsured people can purchase coverage for themselves and their families. The exchange also is where individuals can sign up for the newly expanded Medicaid program.

The tour stop in Vancouver is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C. St.

In-person assistants from local organizations will be on hand to offer free, one-on-one help navigating the Washington Healthplanfinder website, http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

Through the insurance exchange, consumers can compare benefits and prices and enroll in individual health plans.

Clark County residents can choose from 18 plans offered by three insurers -- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Community Health Plan of Washington and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington.

The website also calculates whether applicants are eligible for federal subsidies to help pay for coverage. Most individuals and families making less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level qualify.

Washington Healthplanfinder, the state-based insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, opened for business Oct. 1.

Since the site launched, it's logged more than 2.5 million visits and more than 10.5 million page views. Nearly 49,000 enrollments have been completed for Medicaid and individual health plans on the website since Oct. 1.

Another 52,700 applications have been completed but are awaiting payment. Plans purchased by Dec. 23 will be effective Jan. 1. Open enrollment lasts through March 31.

Local in-person assistants will be available to help consumers throughout the enrollment period. Clark County Public Health is spearheading the effort, in partnership with numerous local organizations.

For those not able to visit the mobile trailer, help enrolling in a health care plan is available through the following agencies:

• Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities of Southwest Washington: 360-694-8144.

• Clark County Public Health: 360-397-8000.

• Columbia River Mental Health Services: 360-993-3000.

• Community Services Northwest: 360-397-8484.

• Council for the Homeless: 360-699-5106.

• Free Clinic of Southwest Washington: 360-313-1390.

• Lifeline Connections: 360-397-8246.

• Lutheran Community Services Northwest: 360-694-5624.

• PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center: 877-202-3597.

• Share: 360-695-7658.