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Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Obamacare


Some tips for navigating way

Frustrated about enrolling to an ACA-qualified health insurance policy? Join the club. Never before have Americans been forced to buy something through such a complicated process. We aren't used to dealing with so many obstacles to making a purchase of anything even close to what we find at the Washington Health Plan Finder. Tens of thousands of people are being turned away today and surely tomorrow even though they want to buy and have been standing in line to buy since Oct. 1.
The website continues to produce error messages like so many weeds in the rose garden. Most people are told to call the 800 number which only adds to their frustration because calls are rarely answered. And when they are answered, the government employee usually doesn't have any helpful information. Some people see plans that have affordable premiums only to find out upon investigation that high deductibles must be met before any benefits are paid by the plan other than preventive care.
My tips: Google Chrome is much more stable than IE or Firefox when dealing with www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Always check the provider network to make sure the doctors you like are contracted. If you missed the Dec. 23 deadline you can enroll for Feb. 1 as long as you get it done by Jan. 23. This year and only this year open enrollment runs to March 31. You must have an ACA- qualified plan for at least eight months of the year to avoid a tax penalty.
Also, know that if your income is not more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level your children will be placed in Apple Health/Medicaid even if the parents can choose a plan. You can refuse Apple Health for your children but doing so makes you ineligible for any premium tax credits. Call your pediatrician to see if he will continue to treat your children if they are in Apple Health. Your initial premium must be paid electronically by e-check or with a debit/credit card. Future premiums may be paid by check or electronic methods. If you need help enrolling your best bet is to find a licensed and certified broker.
Richard Ek
Everett
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

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