It’s not too late to sign up for health insurance through the state.
The original deadline to select a plan through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange was 11:59 p.m. Dec. 15, but it has been pushed back to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 30. The extension was announced Monday morning.
People who enrolled before the Dec. 15 deadline will have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020. For plans selected between now and Dec. 30, coverage will begin Feb. 1.
“We are providing this opportunity for individuals who were not able to enroll in a coverage that is right for them and their loved ones,” Pam MacEwan, the exchange’s chief executive officer, said in a press release Monday morning.
More than 209,000 people had selected plans on the exchange as of Sunday, and about 36,000 of those were new enrollees, according to state records.
Officials with the exchange waited until after the original deadline to announce the extension because they didn’t want people to put off selecting a plan and miss out on a month of coverage, said Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer for the exchange.
Since the exchange launched in 2013, the rate of uninsured Washingtonians aged 18-64 dropped from 14% in 2013 to about 6% in 2017. In King County, the rate dropped from about 16% to 8% in that time. Nationwide, it dropped from 15% to 9%.
Exchange customers will have some new options during next year’s enrollment with the launch of Cascade Care, a public option passed by the Legislature this year to standardize health plans, reduce deductibles and limit premium rate increases.
For information on the various plans offered, customers shopping before the Dec. 30 deadline can visit the Washington Healthplanfinder website or call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.