health insurance http://www.kplu.org en New State Rules Could Limit Cheaper Health Plans With 'Narrow Networks' http://www.kplu.org/post/new-state-rules-could-limit-cheaper-health-plans-narrow-networks <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The practice of offering relatively inexpensive health plans with bare-bones provider networks has created tension between making health care affordable and keeping it accessible. It’s set to come to a head this week in Olympia.</span></p><p>The growth of “narrow networks” in Washington comes as the Affordable Care Act limits the ability of insurance companies to control their costs. That’s made it harder to offer plans at a range of prices — something the companies want to do as they compete for comparison shoppers on the health exchanges.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 16123 at http://www.kplu.org New State Rules Could Limit Cheaper Health Plans With 'Narrow Networks' Washington Health Exchange Banking On A Big March Surge In Enrollments http://www.kplu.org/post/washington-health-exchange-banking-big-march-surge-enrollments <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140609992&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Most Americans who still don’t have health insurance by March </span>31<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;could face a fine, and Washington’s health benefits exchange is hoping the looming deadline will help motivate people to enroll. But so far, the exchange is lagging behind its goals.</span></p><p>Massachusetts, which served as a template for the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to get insurance or pay a penalty, saw a huge rush just before the deadline. Exchange board member Phil Dyer says Washington needs a similar surge.</p><p>“Well, I feel like we’re behind the power curve. We’ve got a long way to go,” Dyer said. “Let’s wait and see if March gets us there, and then take a hard look at planning for Exchange 2.0.”</p><p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:01:00 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 15111 at http://www.kplu.org Washington Health Exchange Banking On A Big March Surge In Enrollments Wash. Health Exchange Beefs Up Call Center For March Rush, Warns Of Long Hold Times http://www.kplu.org/post/wash-health-exchange-beefs-call-center-march-rush-warns-long-hold-times <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Washington’s health insurance exchange has ramped up its </span><a href="http://www.wahbexchange.org/get-involved/contact-us" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">customer-service call center </a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">in anticipation of a big surge in enrollments this month. But callers should still hunker down for a long wait.</span></p><p>The Spokane-based call center got an average of more than 40,000 calls a day in January, but managed to <a href="http://wahbexchange.org/files/7813/9335/1211/HBE_EB_140227_Status_Updates.pdf" target="_blank">answer just 15 percent of them</a>. Of the rest, the vast majority got a message telling them to give up and call back later, while others hung up due to wait times that averaged 40 minutes or more.</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 00:52:49 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 14381 at http://www.kplu.org Wash. Health Exchange Beefs Up Call Center For March Rush, Warns Of Long Hold Times Wash. Health Exchange Looking To Skew Younger http://www.kplu.org/post/wash-health-exchange-looking-skew-younger <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">A diverse group of people have signed up for private health insurance on Washington's state-run exchange, but officials say they still need more young people on board.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">As of Jan. 2, some 71,205 people had <a href="http://www.wahbexchange.org/news-resources/press-room/press-releases/jan-7-enrollment-report" target="_blank">enrolled in private plans </a>on Washington's health insurance exchange, a good deal less than the goal of 130,000. But Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said it’s still on the low end of the expected range.</span></p><p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 13:01:00 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 12406 at http://www.kplu.org Wash. Health Exchange Looking To Skew Younger On Wash. Health Exchange, Strong Numbers and Some Anxiety http://www.kplu.org/post/wash-health-exchange-strong-numbers-and-some-anxiety <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Washington’s new health insurance exchange has been touting its </span><a href="http://www.wahbexchange.org/news-resources/press-room/press-releases/nov-19-enrollment-data" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">strong enrollment numbers, </a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">especially in comparison to the deeply-troubled federal exchange. But members of the board overseeing the exchange are starting to express some anxiety about meeting their signup goals.</span></p><p>The exchange reports 98,399 enrollments, as of mid-November. But the vast majority, 88 percent, are enrolled in the government-sponsored Medicaid program. The state needs to get many more people into private qualified health plans, or QHPs, to create a functioning market.</p><p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:49:36 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 11190 at http://www.kplu.org On Wash. Health Exchange, Strong Numbers and Some Anxiety Despite D.C. 'Shenanigans,' Wash. to Launch Health Exchange http://www.kplu.org/post/despite-dc-shenanigans-wash-launch-health-exchange <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Even as Congress squabbles over the fate of health care reform, Washington&rsquo;s insurance marketplace opens its virtual doors Tuesday morning. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As Gov. Jay </span>Inslee<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> put it, &quot;Despite the shenanigans in D.C., we&#39;re ready to [launch our health care exchange].&rdquo;</span></p><p>Officials running the exchange said their federal grants have already been appropriated and they expect to be fully funded through next year.</p><p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 22:28:36 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 10205 at http://www.kplu.org Despite D.C. 'Shenanigans,' Wash. to Launch Health Exchange Volunteers Plaster King County with Obamacare Sales Pitch http://www.kplu.org/post/volunteers-plaster-king-county-obamacare-sales-pitch <p></p><p>On the same day House Republicans voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, King County is making a big push to implement it. Volunteers went door-to-door and business-to-business across the county Friday.</p><p>Public health officials are trying to get uninsured King County residents to buy insurance on the state’s new exchange. Many of them have never had coverage before.</p><p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 23:38:22 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 10090 at http://www.kplu.org Volunteers Plaster King County with Obamacare Sales Pitch Options Double for Wash. Health Insurance Exchange http://www.kplu.org/post/options-double-health-insurance-exchange <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The menu of choices on Washington’s new health insurance exchange now includes 43 different plans provided by eight companies.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consumer choice will vary by county, but every county in the state will have at least two providers to choose from.</span></p><p> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 23:35:25 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 9887 at http://www.kplu.org Options Double for Wash. Health Insurance Exchange Seattle-Area Grocery Workers Stage Informational Pickets http://www.kplu.org/post/seattle-area-grocery-workers-stage-informational-pickets <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region are stepping up pressure on their employers as they try to reach a contract deal. They’re staging informational pickets everywhere from </span>Bremerton<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to Seattle, to </span>Lynnwood<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> this afternoon to get their message out to customers.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:04:14 +0000 Ashley Gross 9805 at http://www.kplu.org Choices for Health Coverage under Obamacare Coming into Focus http://www.kplu.org/post/choices-health-coverage-under-obamacare-coming-focus <p></p><p>Washington consumers will know later this week what insurance plans they’ll have to choose from on the state’s new health exchange. Insurance companies face a Tuesday deadline to submit plans to the state.</p><p>Nine have applied so far to offer products on the Washington Healthplan Finder, the online marketplace where consumers can comparison-shop for coverage. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, requires those exchanges to be open for business by Oct. 1.</p><p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 12:00:00 +0000 Gabriel Spitzer 9457 at http://www.kplu.org Choices for Health Coverage under Obamacare Coming into Focus Growing Number of Workers Can Only Find Part-Time Work http://www.kplu.org/post/growing-number-workers-can-only-find-part-time-work <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Washington state’s economy is recovering, but a growing percentage of workers can only find part-time jobs, and&nbsp;that is shutting many of them out of employer-based health insurance.</span></p> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 15:11:03 +0000 Ashley Gross 9365 at http://www.kplu.org Growing Number of Workers Can Only Find Part-Time Work Most young adults won't pay more for coverage under Obamacare http://www.kplu.org/post/most-young-adults-wont-pay-more-coverage-under-obamacare <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If the price tag for health insurance goes up under </span>Obamacare<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their </span>20s<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers are available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.</span></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 21:51:06 +0000 Keith Seinfeld 8800 at http://www.kplu.org Most young adults won't pay more for coverage under Obamacare Why is it hard to give away free health insurance? http://www.kplu.org/post/why-it-hard-give-away-free-health-insurance <p></p><p>You might imagine everyone without health insurance will gladly sign up for free or subsidized coverage once it’s available this fall, under the Affordable Care Act.</p><p>However, it hasn't worked out that way for children. A high-profile effort to cover all the uninsured kids in Washington has stalled. Mon, 08 Apr 2013 20:34:34 +0000 Keith Seinfeld 8350 at http://www.kplu.org Why is it hard to give away free health insurance? Feds outline what insurers must cover, down to polyp removal http://www.kplu.org/post/feds-outline-what-insurers-must-cover-down-polyp-removal The Obama administration on Wednesday released its <a href="http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-04084_PI.pdf">final rule on essential health benefits</a>, which sets out the coverage insurers must offer starting in 2014.<p>Insurers must cover 10 broad categories of care, including emergency services, maternity care, hospital and doctors' services, mental health and substance abuse care and prescription drugs.<p>Essential benefit requirements apply mainly to individual and small group plans. Wed, 20 Feb 2013 22:15:42 +0000 7835 at http://www.kplu.org Feds outline what insurers must cover, down to polyp removal How health insurance eats your paycheck http://www.kplu.org/post/how-health-insurance-eats-your-paycheck <p></p><p>Health care is probably taking a bigger chunk out of your paycheck than it was a decade ago. The rising cost of insurance and deductibles has been dramatic whether you work for a small business or a large one.</p> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 00:06:08 +0000 Keith Seinfeld 7419 at http://www.kplu.org