Woman pays insurance premiums, doesn't have insurance

by: Alison Grande Updated:

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An Eastside mother signed up and paid for insurance on the Washington State Health Plan Finder then found out she isn’t covered.

Serena Carlson-Nett got divorced in June. That made her eligible to sign up through the Washington Exchange. She started paying for coverage set to start in July. She paid $332 a month. When she hadn’t received her insurance card, six weeks later she started calling Premera.  Premera hadn’t heard of her.

“I’m paying this money for my health insurance and I’m not covered. I can’t go to the doctor tomorrow if I get sick,” said Serena Carlson-Nett.  “The information differed each phone call I made. What’s the consistent message? There is none,” she added.

Carlson-Nett is not alone. The state acknowledges there were 28,000 people, or 1 in 5, who were unable to use their insurance due to billing problems. Wednesday afternoon the state said that number is down to 3,000 to 5,000 having trouble.

KIRO 7 asked what happened to Carlson-Nett’s coverage. “The paperwork may have been submitted and subsequently catalogued and it just hadn’t been flagged for review,” said Michael Marchand of Washington Health Plan Finder. He said it was a error by the state. Workers failed to review her documents and send them to the insurance carrier. After KIRO 7 asked about Carlson-Nett’s coverage, the state reviewed her paperwork and sent it to Premera.  She should have her coverage start in a few days.

As for the 28,000 people having trouble with the website, the state says that number is now down to 3,000 to 5,000.  They are working to get the problems solved in the next few weeks. “It’s our intent to have all the problems solved is not before, at least by the next open enrollment period which is November, because we have to,” said Marchand.

Carlson-Nett  is still skeptical about when she’ll actually get her insurance cards in the mail. She added, “If someone doesn’t know how to advocate for themselves, they’re basically screwed.”