More people find the coverage they need through the Washington insurance exchange
An estimated 170,000 Washington residents have purchased health insurance coverage through the state’s exchange marketplace, according to information provided by the state. This is an increase in the number that purchased health insurance through the exchange during the first open enrollment period. Many people were able to take advantage of a special enrollment period, which offered consumers more time to sign up for coverage through the state’s exchange before they filed for taxes.
Special enrollment period proves to be a benefit for consumers
Washington was among several states that offered a special enrollment period. This was in response to the fact that an overwhelming majority of consumers were completely unaware that they would be paying fines for not having health insurance coverage. Those that did not have coverage in 2014 would face such fines, but those signing up for coverage this year could avoid higher fines in 2016. These fines were meant to be issued at the close of the tax season.
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Number of people signing up for the state’s exchange continues to grow
Approximately 40,000 more people signed up for health insurance coverage through the state’s exchange than what was reported during the state’s first open enrollment period. Another 16,000 people purchased health insurance during the state’s two-month special enrollment period. A significant portion of the consumers that have purchased insurance coverage are receiving subsidies from the federal government, which are offsetting the cost of their coverage and making it more affordable.
Uninsured rate is falling throughout the state
According to a recent poll from Gallup, Washington’s uninsured rate has dropped by 10% as of December 2014. According to the state, approximately 1 million people in Washington did not have health insurance before the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program and the opening of its health insurance exchange. These two factors have lead to a significant drop in the number of people in the state without insurance coverage. In the future, a larger portion of the state’s population is expected to use the exchange to purchase coverage.