This Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, file photo, taken in Washington, shows part of the HealthCare.gov website page featuring information about the SHOP Marketplace.Photo: AP Photo/Jon Elswick
Open enrollment for health insurance, required under the Affordable Care Act, ends Feb 15, and it looks like the system is working much more smoothly than it did last year.
People who miss signing up now will face the first wave of fines starting in 2016.
In Oregon, anyone who has not signed up should go to www. HealthCare.gov; in Washington go to www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
So far Oregon officials say an additional 97,489 people signed up this cycle – a major improvement from the state’s rocky Obamacare launch last year.
Oregon’s ACA signups have been taken over by the federal government, which sent out this week’s press releases about sign-ups and tax credits.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange say customers “must select and pay for a Qualified Health Plan by Feb. 15 at 9:59 p.m. for coverage that begins on March 1, 2015.”
“On a national level, Washington State continues to have one of the highest reductions in its uninsured rate,” said Gov. Jay Inslee this week. “This shows that the Affordable Care Act is working and Washingtonians are benefiting from free or low-cost health insurance options.”
If you don’t sign up in 2015, next year you face Internal Revenue Service fines of $325 per person or up to 2 percent of your annual income, whichever is greater.
“This means that the penalty for a family of four with an annual income of $60,000 will total approximately $1,000 next year,” Healthplanfinder warns.
An estimated 139,000 people are now signed up in the Emerald State, with 640,000 enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan or under Medicaid expansion through Washington Healthplanfinder.
Cover Oregon officials say as of Jan. 18, a total of 85,706 Oregon residents had signed up for private plans, a 44 percent increase from this time last year.
In addition, another 90,223 people have enrolled in ACA-compliant private plans outside the exchange in Oregon.
According to Oregon officials, as of Jan. 30, 2015, 78 percent of residents who signed up were eligible for an average of $203 per person/month in advanced premium tax credits.
Eight out of 10 Marketplace enrollees nationally, as of December 2014, could obtain coverage for $100 or less after any applicable tax credits in 2015.
“We are working to meet consumers wherever they are, whether that is online, over the phone or in person,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
“Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options and find out if they are eligible for financial assistance, which can help pay monthly premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs when receiving services.”
To sign up for individual and family coverage, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/
On the phone, customers can call “all day, every day,” at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Assistance is free and available in 150 languages.
For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace.
Information is available on the web at www.HealthCare.gov and in Spanish, at www.CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
And in find local help at www.Localhelp.healthcare.gov.
Washington residents can enroll at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
To talk with a real person, Washington customers can call 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923 4633.)
The Exchange is boosting its hours at the toll-free Customer Support Center on Feb. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Feb. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enrollment events are taking place this weekend in downtown Seattle, the Federal Way Commons Mall and the Vancouver Mall. To view the complete schedule of events, go to www.wahbexchange.org/how-enroll/community-events.
For more information on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange go to www.wahbexchange.org.