Health Insurance

Deadline looms to sign up for health insurance. Need help?

There’s a deadline for health insurance enrollment this weekend

By Keith Seinfeld, Public Health – Seattle & King County

When we’re confused, it can be hard to take action.  

With just a few days left to make a decision about health insurance, now is the time for people who need coverage to get their questions answered.

The 2019 Open Enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act ends on Dec. 15. 

Fortunately, Public Health—Seattle & King County is taking extra steps to assist people who are unsure about how to sign up or how to choose from the many options. 

There are nine special enrollment events scheduled between now and Sunday in King County. Online and telephone assistance are also available daily (see details below). 

Health insurance specialists, called Navigators, will be at the following locations. More than 250 Navigators also are available through community agencies to help people sign up through Washington Healthplanfinder

SnoqualmieTues., Dec. 10Snoqualmie Library, 7824 Center Blvd SE, Snoqualmie, 98065 4:30-7:30
SeaTacThurs., Dec. 12Star Coffee Restaurant, 16005 International Blvd, SeaTac, 98188 5:00-8:00
VashonFri., Dec. 13Vashon Library, 17210 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon, 98070 11:00-1:30
SeattleFri., Dec. 13Pike Place Market Commons, 1901 Western Ave #1000, Seattle, 98101 10:00-3:00
Federal WaySat., Dec. 14Federal Way Service Center, 1640 S. 318thPl., Federal Way, 98003 10:00-3:00
TukwilaSat., Dec. 14Showalter Middle School, 4628 S. 144th St, Tukwila, 98168 10:00-2:00 (also dental screenings) 
SeattleSat., Dec. 14Metro Service Center, 201 S. Jackson, Seattle 98104 10:00-3:00
SeattleSun., Dec. 15South Park Community Center, 8319 8thAve S., Seattle, 9810810:00-3:00 (also mammograms, dental screenings) 
Federal WaySun., Dec. 15Federal Way Service Center, 1640 S. 318thPl., Federal Way, 9800310:00-8:00

This year, interest is high. By the end of November – with two weeks remaining – nearly 190,000 Washington residents had signed up for a Qualified Health Plan, nearly as many people as in all of last year. 

For many, prices are lower

“I think interest is higher because we have lower cost options this year. Premiums went down for the lowest price Silver plan, which is what a lot of people want,” said Daphne Pie of Public Health, who manages King County’s network of Navigators. 

Daphne Pie assists a client with health insurance enrollment
Daphne Pie manages King County’s network of Navigators

In King County, consumers can choose plans from six insurance companies. 

More than half of all customers qualify for an immediate tax credit, which lowers the monthly price for insurance. Many others qualify for Washington Apple Health, which is free and available year-round. 

For those who enroll before the 11:59pm deadline on Dec. 15, insurance coverage will start on Jan. 1, 2020.  For those eligible for Washington Apple Health, enrollment is available year-round. 

How to get help in King County:

  • Online: Coverage is Here King County website: Answers to basic questions, plus locations and dates for in-person assistance
  • Online: Washington Healthplanfinder website and app: It’s easy to browse specific options, compare pricing, and see whether a key provider or prescription is covered 
  • Phone: King County hotline for health access: 800-756-5437 
  • Phone: Washington Healthplanfinder: 855-923-4633 (extended evening hours Dec. 11-15)
  • Enrollment Centers: These sites are open daily (in addition to special events listed on the website), to help people enroll.
    • Public Health-Seattle Metro Service Center, 201 S. Jackson, Seattle 98104 (Mon.-Thurs 8:30-4:30 and some Fridays and Saturdays, please check schedule
    • Public Health-Federal Way Enrollment Center, 1640 S. 318th P, Suite B, Federal Way 98003 (Mon.-Thurs. 8:30-5:00; for weekend hours, please check website)

(Originally published 12/10/2019)