• Health care signup deadline 11:59 p.m. Saturday for state exchange

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    The deadline to sign up for health insurance for 2019 is quickly approaching. To be covered in the state health exchange through the Affordable Care Act, you must enroll by 11:59 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 15.  The enrollment period is a month shorter than years past and enrollment agents say they’re seeing a big last-minute push.

    “As the weeks come closer to the deadline it's had a snowball effect where the phone won't stop ringing,” enrollment agent Carol McClure told KIRO 7 on Tuesday. “People are walking through the door or emailing or texting.”

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    McClure helps people sign up at the Washington Health Exchange enrollment center in West Seattle.  It’s one of 10 enrollment centers statewide. You can also get help enrolling over the phone. The number is 855-WAFinder (855-923-4633).  Enrollment agents are available by phone from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Thursday. The hours are extended to midnight this Friday and Saturday.

    One of the top questions this year is which plans cover specific doctors. You can find the answer on wahealthplanfinder.org or call a specialist to help you navigate through it.

    “There's assistance out there, just ask the questions, it's okay,” Washington Health Exchange marketing director Michael Marschand told KIRO 7. “We get a lot of questions.”

    The state Legislature allocated $50 million to the health exchange and a big focus this year was making it more user friendly.

    “You can actually take photos with your phone,” Marschand said. “And upload documents to the dashboard where they'll be read by staff.”

    There are seven health insurance carriers offering 41 different plans this year. So far 200,000 people across the state have enrolled for next year, and in this final week they’re averaging 2,000 signups per day. 

    “Last year we found a lot of people calling after the deadline wanting to enroll, change their plans, wanting to do something,” McClure said.  “And we just had to say, 'You missed the deadline.'”

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