By Edie Jeffers
TACOMA – Earlier today, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange unveiled details of its Customer Support Program for Washington Healthplanfinder—the new way for Washingtonians to find, compare and enroll in health insurance starting Oct. 1, 2013.
The support effort, which includes local in-person assistance services at community agencies, a toll-free Customer Support Center, insurance brokers and online help, will focus on providing answers to questions about new types of health coverage options and financial help that will be offered to qualifying consumers.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is one of 10 lead organizations that the Exchange selected to train and coordinate local in-person assisters. Through various community agencies, Pierce County residents can get one-on-one support that will allow those who are not likely to use a website or call center to learn about their options and enroll in health coverage. Locally, those agencies include:
- Asia Pacific Cultural Center
- Community Health Care
- Comprehensive Health Education Foundation/Salishan Health Advocates
- Eatonville Family Agency
- Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest
- Point Defiance AIDS Project/NASEN
- Sea Mar Community Health Centers
- South Sound Outreach
Find links to the local in-person assister organizations at www.tpchd.org/healthcarereform
“Our shared goal is to let everyone in Pierce County know about the new health plans and financial help that will be available starting on October 1 and encourage them to get coverage,” said Beth Wilson, program manager.
Statewide, the Exchange is partnering with nearly 100 community organizations including public health agencies, coalitions and regional health networks to begin education and enrollment efforts in their local areas this fall.
Today also marks the opening of the toll-free Customer Support Center in Spokane, which opens to Washington state callers today. Assistance is available in up to 175 languages and trained representatives are available weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. by dialing toll-free 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633). Consumers can also email customersupport@wahbexchange.
Customer Support Center representatives are trained and available to answer questions about health coverage options, how to access financial help and what consumers need to know about the enrollment process. Beginning Oct. 1, they will also be able to facilitate enrollment in health plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder.
All health plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder meet strict benefit and quality standards, and cover essential benefits including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, and regular check-ups. An individual making up to $45,000 and a family of four making up to $94,000 a year may qualify for financial help toward premiums and copays. Free and low-cost coverage is also available.