By Keith Seinfeld
Public Health – Seattle & King County
The numbers tell a good story, when it comes to health insurance. And … the numbers also show us how we can help make things better this fall.
In King County, the number of people without health insurance has plummeted by 55 percent, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the county’s persistent efforts to help people get enrolled.
That means, more than 200,000 King County residents are already benefitting from the expansion of insurance options through Washington Healthplanfinder and Apple Health (Medicaid), according to data from Public Health—Seattle & King County.
And, this year, the price of insurance (the premiums) have stabilized, with an average decrease of 3.27 percent. So, insurance will be more affordable to more people who need to buy a plan for 2020.
In King County, people who don’t get coverage from their employer, and must buy their own health insurance, can choose from six insurance carriers.
The numbers also remind us:
• In King County, approximately 65,000 people are uninsured and eligible for insurance plans on Washington Healthplanfinder, but haven’t yet enrolled;
• and 75,000 residents need to renew their plans for 2020, and could possibly improve their situation by switching plans.
We can all help by spreading the word that Open Enrollment is upon us – from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 – and enrollment assistance is widely available.
“Sometimes people don’t know that there really are affordable options – thanks to tax credits and many other programs to reduce the cost of insurance. We need to get the word out, so people check out their options, and maybe talk to a Navigator, before the deadline,” said Daphne Pie, manager of Public Health—Seattle & King County’s Access & Outreach program and of the countywide network of Navigator agencies.
More than 30 agencies are part of King County’s enrollment network, deploying nearly 300 health insurance Navigators to help people with enrollment. They’ll be at public places across the county, offering walk-in assistance, and also answering phones.