10,000 Washington residents sign up for health insurance in first weeks of open enrollment

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SEATTLE — About 10,000 Washington residents signed up for health insurance during the first few weeks of open enrollment, the state insurance exchange reported on Thursday.

Last year, nearly 50,000 people signed up for private health insurance during the first four weeks of the open enrollment period that began Oct. 1, 2013. A total of about 130,000 had signed up through the exchange when the first open enrollment closed months later.

Of those who signed up last year, nearly 46,000 residents have renewed their insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder since enrollment began on Nov. 15, the exchange reported Thursday. Another 480,000 new adults have accessed free coverage through Washington's Medicaid program, which is called Washington Apple Health.

Washington residents have until Dec. 23 to sign up and pay for insurance if they want to start their coverage on Jan. 1.

Exchange officials hope to sign up an additional 85,000 people for private insurance during the current enrollment period that continues until Feb. 15. Their goal for renewals is 100 percent, meaning a goal of at least 215,000 Washington residents with health insurance purchased through the exchange.

Officials also reported Thursday that 4,000 of 6,000 customer accounts that were wrongly cancelled because of a computer problem on Dec. 2 have been reinstated. Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said officials are reaching out to everyone affected by the error to get their coverage reinstated.

In the exchange's new program for small businesses, 73 companies have signed up to offer health insurance to their employees, and 1,550 companies are in the process of setting up an account.

The Healthplanfinder Business is available to employers in Washington with up to 50 employees.

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Online:

Washington Healthplanfinder: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org

On the telephone: 1-855-923-4633

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