November 13, 2013 in City

Thousands apply for Washington, Idaho exchange plans

By The Spokesman-Review
 
More Online

Read the full enrollment report here, from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Nearly 120,000 Washington residents have completed applications for health insurance through the state’s insurance exchange, a federal report revealed Wednesday, and more than 10,500 Idahoans have completed applications through their state’s exchange.

Those numbers are far higher than the numbers who have selected the plan they want to enroll in through the exchanges – 7,091 in Washington and 338 in Idaho. But they do show that thousands in both states have made their way through the application process, despite initial glitches, particularly with the federal computer system that Idaho’s relied on.

In Washington, a large number of those applying – more than 48,000 – were actually found to be eligible for Medicaid. Another 13,375 qualified for new federal subsidies for exchange plans.

In Idaho, just over 1,597 of those completing applications qualified for that state’s more restrictive Medicaid program, while 3,305 qualified for the new federal subsidies.

Amy Dowd, executive director of Idaho’s exchange, Yourhealthidaho.org, said, “As we all know, the federal application process is still experiencing some difficulty, but we are pleased to see that so many Idahoans are getting online, using agents, brokers and in-person assisters as well as the call center to fill out applications, and taking their time to choose the right plan.”

Nationwide, the federal report showed that 1.5 million individuals have completed applications for health plans through the new exchanges, 396,261 of those were deemed eligible for Medicaid, 326,130 qualified for subsidies, and 106,185 have selected and enrolled in plans from the exchanges.

“We continue to be pleased with Washington State residents’ response to the Health Benefit Exchange,” said Dorothy Teeter, director of the Washington Health Care Authority, in a statement last week. “We appreciate the commitment of our community partners to get people connected to insurance coverage.”

Nationally, 26.2 percent of those who completed applications on the exchanges qualified for Medicaid. Washington’s figure was much higher, at 40.4 percent, while Idaho’s was much lower at 15.1 percent.


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