Need health insurance? The Spokesman-Review is looking for a few volunteers to try Washington state’s new Health Plan Finder website, which debuts on Tuesday.
The website is a central feature of the federal Affordable Care Act. On it, eight health insurance companies will compete for the public’s insurance-buying dollars. Federal tax credits will reduce the cost of premiums, for those with incomes below 400 percent of the poverty level ($45,960/year for one person, $62,040 for a family of two, $78,120 for a family of three, $94,200 for a family of four).
We plan to publish a story and photographs describing our volunteers’ reactions to the state’s new online insurance-buying system.
In exchange for participation in our story, we’ve arranged for the volunteers to receive on-the-spot assistance from Richard H. Denenny, an independent Spokane broker with more than 30 years’ experience as a specialist in health insurance. Denenny has received training from the state in use of the Health Plan Finder website, and is knowledgeable about the changes federal law will make to the health insurance market.
We’re looking for a variety of people for our story: self-employed people or small-business workers, singles or parents, who have no coverage today or who have an individual policy that needs to be replaced with one compliant with the new federal insurance regulations. It would help if our volunteers are reasonably comfortable using computers to make purchases. Open-mindedness is a plus; this is about insurance buying, not about politics.
Our volunteers must be available for a few hours Tuesday morning to sit down with us and Denenny at a computer and try out the state’s new system. We won’t ask the volunteers actually to purchase coverage, unless they wish to; rather, we’ll ask them to explore the site using their own information and tell us what they think about it.
To volunteer, send an email to email@example.com, explaining briefly who you are and why you need health insurance.
After we have chosen our volunteers, we will send them information about the personal facts (such as adjusted gross income and family details) that they will need to bring to the meeting and enter into the website’s forms. We will not ask to see, or publish, our volunteers’ private information.