- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - Monday was not really the deadline for signing up for health insurance in Washington state for people who have made a real effort to get insurance but didn’t succeed.

A spokesman for the health exchange said there is no real deadline for anyone who has run into technical problems.

But Michael Marchand was quick to add: Washington Healthplanfinder can tell who has been making an effort, so people should not expect more time to complete their applications if they’ve just gone to the website, signed on, and then given up.

“There are some people who are just stuck,” Marchand said. “We know those folks have very unique sets of circumstances that will take more than midnight to get through.”

Although Washington did not announce a deadline extension for health insurance sign-ups, like some other states, it appears a practical extension is in place.

Midnight Monday was the official deadline to apply for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act. There is no deadline for Medicaid sign-ups.

Signups for private health insurance passed 130,000 last week. Marchand expects the number could reach as high as 140,000 by Tuesday.

The next open enrollment period is Nov. 15, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015 for coverage that takes effect in 2015.

At least another 11,000 people will likely have more time to finish their applications with help from the state. That is the number as of Friday officials at the exchange knew were trying to work through problems with their application or payment.

Jamie Dinsmore, 35, of Seattle, started applying for health insurance through Washington’s online exchange in October. She got word on Friday that she and her 18-month-old son were insured.

Her long journey included error messages on the website, multiple phone calls and waiting on hold on the customer help line, and finally a visit to a heath navigator at the clinic in her neighborhood where she and her son go to the doctor.

“I can’t imagine people who have more barriers than me trying to work this out,” said Dinsmore. She was surprised to find out she was qualified for free insurance through Medicaid, since they are supported by her live-in boyfriend, who has a job but can’t put her on his work insurance plan because they are not married or registered domestic partners.

“I’m glad I could report a happy ending,” Dinsmore said.

Washington health officials say more than 235,000 adults who became eligible for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act had signed up as of March 21. Another 120,000 who have signed up for Medicaid since Oct. 1 were eligible under the old rules but had never signed up until now.

Before health reform went into effect, state officials estimated a million Washington residents did not have health insurance.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide