Health Plan Enrollment Season Now Open

In just the first year of expanded access under the federal Affordable Care Act, more than a third of the uninsured residents in King County have enrolled in a health insurance plan. Now, King County is redoubling efforts to reach the remaining uninsured. The state's second "Open Enrollment" season launched in mid-November.

"Our 'all-hands-on-deck' approach last season helped nearly 200,000 people in King County enroll in health insurance, cutting the rate of the uninsured by more than one third and providing a model for the nation," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "The more people we help enroll this season, the stronger we make our region's health and economy."

During open enrollment (now through February 15, 2015), individuals age 18 to 64 can purchase health insurance plans through the Washington Healthplanfinder website or through the state's helpline (855-923-4633).

The county's strategy builds on last year's successes and brings new ways to assist those who need help enrolling. Additional updates this year include:

  • Increased consumer choice—now eight insurance carriers offer plans in King County, totaling more than 60 plans.
  • Small businesses now can purchase insurance for their employees through the Healthplanfinder, allowing more employee options and access to a tax credit for eligible employers.
  • Low-income consumers will be able to sign-up for a new Metro transit "Low Income Fare Card" at the same time they enroll in health insurance (the new fare cards will be delivered for the implementation in March 2015).
  • Experts from Public Health—Seattle & King County and a network of technical experts will provide personal help for consumers.

The Public Health department is coordinating dozens of outreach locations every month, which will be staffed by local organizations with certified experts, called "Navigators."  

Coordinated outreach through a network of community organizations, with deep roots in targeted communities, proved successful in the first enrollment season—and provided a model that's been heralded nationally.  

Those who do not enroll in a health insurance plan in 2015 may be subject to a fine of $325 per individual or up to two percent of their income, whichever is greater.

For more information:

Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over two million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health—Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day. Learn more at www.kingcounty.gov/health.

Confused about Health Insurance Options?

SHIBA—the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors program offered by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner—provides free, unbiased advice on health insurance choices.

Whether you are on Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, SHIBA can help. Following are links for more information:

SHIBA/Office of the Insurance Commissioner

SHIBA/Senior Services

SHIBA/Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens