KHQ MD ALERT: Deadline Today For Jan. Health Insurance - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ MD ALERT: Deadline Today For Jan. Health Insurance

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KHQ.COM - Today is the last day you can buy health insurance in the state of Washington to have it retroactively kick in on January 1.

Washington state has had impressive success in getting its residents registered for health insurance. Over 71,000 people registered for health insurance in Washington. Another 72,000 have enrolled and just need to make their payment.

Only 5 states - New York, California, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas - all of which have much bigger populations than Washington - have had more people sign up.

Michael Marchand, the Communications Director at Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said one of the reasons why Washington state was so successful in getting people signed up for healthcare is because state legislators got on board with the Affordable care Act plans early.

"We got a good jump on this, we started early, we had a very good plan as to how we were going to reach out to people," said Marchand. "[We had to] make sure the 6.5 million residents of this state are aware of this new opportunity."

Marchand said the successful marketing and ad campaign was also key in getting people signed up. He also said organized and passionate outreach efforts all over the state helped get the word out about the healthcare exchange.

The next deadline to keep in mind for healthcare coverage is March 31, and Marchand expects the Healthcare Exchange to remain busy up until then.

"We're fully expecting a lot of people to wait until the last moment, it's no different than human behavior," explained Marchand. "[It's like] sending back your Netflix movie or making sure your taxes get turned in, most people wait until the final day to get it done."

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange was not immune to some tech-glitches over the past few months. And, at times, they struggled keeping up with the call volume they experienced, which was sometimes up to 25,000 calls per day.

And while the Washington's Exchange was ultimately deemed very effective, Marchand says the system will continue to improve.

"I don't think success will be determined in the first month or weeks," said Marchand. "It'll be defined by the next 3-4 years, moving forward, when more and more people get insured."

For more information on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, you can go to their website at http://www.wahbexchange.org.



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