OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced more than 1,000 registered insurance brokers will be available to help Washingtonians enroll in new health coverage options through Washington Healthplanfinder. Washington Healthplanfinder is a new online marketplace where you can find, compare and enroll in health insurance in Washington State and gain access to financial help starting Oct. 1, 2013.
Brokers are uniquely educated and licensed professionals that can help consumers find an appropriate health plan. While all certified representatives in the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Network can help educate residents and enroll them in coverage starting Oct. 1, only brokers are able to recommend a specific health insurance plan based on an individual’s needs and budget.
“We are proud of the response and the partnership with the broker community,” said Richard Onizuka, Chief Executive Officer for Washington Healthplanfinder. “With more than 40 health plans available, brokers’ expertise and knowledge of the insurance landscape will be of great benefit to the uninsured in our state who need assistance choosing a plan that’s right for them.”
Licensed brokers can become authorized to sell health plans offered on Washington Healthplanfinder upon completing an educational training course implemented by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Trainings have recently taken place in Seattle, Bellingham, Tacoma, Spokane, Kennewick, Vancouver, and Wenatchee with additional trainings scheduled in September and October. Brokers must also be appointed by respective health insurance carriers to sell specific plan products.
“This is a whole new marketplace for brokers to access,” said Keith Bell, Director of Washington Healthplanfinder Business. “Brokers will be able to connect with residents who may never have been able to purchase a health plan before and will receive compensation from insurance carriers for their services. We will continue to enhance the system to provide even greater value to the broker community.”
The Exchange has designed its online marketplace to allow brokers to play a critical role in helping Washingtonians access health plans offered through the site. Registered brokers will be provided with a unique profile and client database tracking tools in the Washington Healthplanfinder system. Individuals, families and small businesses will be able to locate them by name or zip code.
“With the health insurance industry in a constant state of flux, the Exchange brings an opportunity for brokers to reach out to their communities and offer coverage to residents who may have never had access to high-quality health coverage,” said Chris Free, Principal at Rapport Benefits Group.
Brokers will also be able to help small businesses in Clark and Cowlitz counties enroll their employees in health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder Business, which provides employers with quality health plans for their employees, added convenience and important cost savings. A statewide small business program is expected next year.
Brokers are an integral part of the broader Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Network, which also includes online help, a toll-free Customer Support Center at 1-855-WA-FINDER and in-person assistance through local community organizations across the State.
For more information about how insurance brokers can partner with Washington Healthplanfinder, please visit www.wahbexchange.org. More information about Washington Healthplanfinder is available at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) with the goal to redefine people’s experience with health care through the creation of a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board appointed by former Gov. Chris Gregoire in Dec. 2011.
About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder will be a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Washington Healthplanfinder will begin enrolling consumers on Oct. 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
Bethany Frey, Washington Healthplanfinder