SEATTLE, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Healthplanfinder, the new online marketplace that connects Washingtonians to new health insurance plans and financial help, was unveiled today on the eve of the health insurance open enrollment period. Beginning Oct. 1, individuals, families and small businesses will be able to find, compare and enroll in the health plan that fits their needs and budget at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
"It's a new day for health insurance in Washington," said Richard Onizuka, Chief Executive Officer for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "With Washington Healthplanfinder, people in our state now have an easier way to find the health plan that fits their needs and budget. Every health plan is new and covers essential benefits including doctor visits, emergency care, prescriptions, and free check-ups and screenings."
Washington Healthplanfinder was designed to offer a consumer-friendly shopping experience with a variety of features that will make the process of finding insurance easier, such as side-by-side comparisons of health plans and the ability to filter plans based on important preferences such as cost and in-network doctors. The site also interfaces with federal and state data systems to provide quick eligibility determinations for free or low-cost coverage. The marketplace has undergone robust testing over the past few months to ensure the system will perform when consumers start enrolling.
"While the website has a complex infrastructure behind the scenes, what people will see when they go to Washington Healthplanfinder is a simple, intuitive design that guides them through the process of enrolling in health coverage," said Benush Venugopal, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, which developed the website with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "We also have several enhancements to the user experience planned for future releases of Washington Healthplanfinder."
The Exchange also announced details of statewide outreach efforts to complement the advertising, grassroots activities, social media engagement, and ongoing work with partners and media outlets. A mobile enrollment tour will launch in mid-October featuring a bus equipped with internet-ready laptops and trained In-Person Assisters enrolling people on-site. The branded bus will work with ten in-person assistance organizations to make multiple stops throughout the state in October and November.
"As part of the effort to reach the 1 million uninsured residents in Washington, our Washington Healthplanfinder mobile enrollment tour will be coming to towns all across the state to increase awareness and spur enrollment," said Michael Marchand, Director of Communications for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "It's important that we reach people where they live, play, work and pray to ensure we're getting the word out."
To reach young adults, Washington Healthplanfinder is also working with a nonprofit organization called the Young Invincibles to develop an informational iPhone and Android smartphone app tailored to Washington state. The app, which is expected to launch in October, will be co-branded with Washington Healthplanfinder frequently asked questions, links to enroll in coverage, and an "Ask a Question" feature that will go directly to local staff members.
In addition to the website, Washingtonians can get answers to questions and help enrolling in health plans through a statewide network of more than a thousand trained insurance brokers and in-person assisters. There are nearly 100 community organizations that will conduct education and enrollment activities across the state. A Tribal Assister Program provides tribal members and their communities with information and help enrolling in new coverage options.
People can also reach the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center by calling toll-free 1-855-WA-FINDER (1-855-923-4633). Assistance is available in up to 175 languages and trained representatives are available weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
"It's a historic time and a tremendous opportunity," said Margaret Stanley, Chair of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board and retired Executive Director of the Puget Sound Health Alliance. "Washington Healthplanfinder will provide peace of mind for hundreds of thousands of our friends, families and neighbors by offering easier access to affordable quality health coverage."
For more information about Washington Healthplanfinder, visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org
About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) with the goal to redefine people's experience with health care through the creation of a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire in Dec. 2011.
About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder will be a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Washington Healthplanfinder will begin enrolling consumers on Oct. 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
SOURCE Washington Healthplanfinder