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Open Enrollment Begins for Health Centers

Monday, November 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Jessica Burkard, NWRPCA


Open enrollment kicked off on November 1st and will continue through January 31st, 2017. Health center efforts have helped the nation’s uninsured rate reach an all-time low of 8.6% - the first time the uninsured rate has fallen below 9%. Region 10 health centers will remain a critical player in enrolling the uninsured and assisting individuals with renewing or modifying their coverage. See state updates and point of contacts below for further information and assistance:


Alaska: Over 88% of Alaskans who applied last year were eligible for cost savings. Alaskans can receive free, local enrollment assistance year round. Visit www.getcoveredalaska.org or call 1-844-752-6725 (1-844-PLANSAK). Alaskans who have already signed up for insurance through the Marketplace will have through December 15, 2016 to make changes to their coverage which will go into effect January 1, 2017. Moda will no longer offer plans on the Marketplace in 2017. Alaskans who currently have Moda plans are encouraged to update their healthcare.gov account, and shop online to find a comparable Premera plan option before the December 15th deadline. Additional guidance from the Alaska Division of Insurance is available at: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/7/pub/PR-2017-Individual-Health-Insurance-Plans-Available-in-Alaska.pdf  For those who have not yet signed up for health insurance, open enrollment period is November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. To shop for plans online and set up an account, visit www.healthcare.gov or contact a local Enrollment Assister in Alaska for free and fair in-person assistance: http://getcoveredalaska.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2017-OE-Roster-final.pdf Those Alaskans who opted to remain uncovered in 2016 will be required to pay a tax penalty on their 2016 tax filings. That penalty may be as low as $695 per adult, and half that for each child, or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher. Alaskans who do not have health insurance in 2017 will also face penalties. Contact Cherise Fowler CheriseF@alaskapca.org for more information.


Idaho: Beginning November 1, Idahoans can purchase health and dental insurance for 2017 on the state-based health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho. The exchange is the only place in the state where individuals can purchase health insurance and receive a tax credit to help offset the costs of their monthly premium. Customers can save up to 70 percent or more on their insurance each month with a tax credit. To view the full announcement by Your Health Idaho, click here https://www.yourhealthidaho.org/wp-content/uploads/YHI-News-Release-103116.pdf.  Contact Moriah Nelson mnelson@idahopca.org for more details.


Oregon: The Oregon Health Insurance marketplace is gearing up for open enrollment #4 using the FFM for our state supported marketplace. This year there will be an effort to target Millennial and Latino populations for increased enrollment. Oregon is also implementing a program to pay for premium assistance and out of pockets costs for Compact of Free Association (COFA) community members. Our marketplace continues to offer assistance through the store front program that provides easy access to insurance agents during the open enrollment period. Our statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program has been moved into the Health Insurance Marketplace office where there is great crosspollination between Marketplace and Medicare insurance enrollment assistance. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) continues to do a good job of managing the Health Insurance Marketplace and the other programs it oversees such as SHIBA and COFA premium assistance. As for Oregon Health Plan (Oregon’s state Medicaid) enrollment, Oregonians can apply all year in four different ways with the help of a community partner; online through Oregon Eligibility (ONE) portal, a pdf application, a paper application, or by calling the Oregon Health Plan Customer Service Center. For additional information on the Oregon enrollment process visit, healthcare.oregon.gov. Contact Stephanie Castano for more details. SCastano@orpca.org


Washington: Washington’s community health centers are reporting that Open Enrollment Period 4 is off to a quiet start. Low numbers of people seeking enrollment assistance have come in to health centers so far but they are beginning to see an increase in requests for appointments to meet with navigators. People are being enrolled in Washington Apple Health and Qualified Health Plans, with more requests for Qualified Health Plan renewals than new coverage.  In-reach activities include continuing to capture uninsured clients scheduling or presenting for an appointment to make sure they meet with a navigator, advertising in waiting rooms and blogging about open enrollment on the health centers’ websites. Outreach activities include getting referrals and tabling at DSHS Community Services Offices and WorkSource, doing radio ads, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, and doing outreach at community organizations serving the uninsured, such as homeless shelters and Goodwill. The most common reported problems are long wait times for assistance from the Healthplanfinder Call Center staff and clients’ sticker shock at increased Qualified Health Plan premiums.   Contact Patricia Gepert for more details. PGepert@wacmhc.org


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