Q&A about new health insurance sign-ups

Q: I heard about the beginning of efforts this week to help people who don’t have health insurance sign up. How can I get some help?

A: There are several ways:

1) A toll-free hotline for information on buying individual health insurance plans in Washington is available at 1-855-923-4633.

2) Information also is available at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange at wahealthplanfinder.org and at the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office at http://tinyurl.com/qzbpp4r.

Q: Is there any place locally where I can just sit down and hear more about how I can get health insurance?

A: Yes. The Everett Public Library has scheduled two public information sessions on signing up for health care with Mary Souriyavongsa and Patrick Ewing of the nonprofit Community Health Plan of Washington. The first is at 2 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Evergreen Branch, 9512 Evergreen Way; and the second is at 7p.m. Oct. 16 in the main library auditorium, 2702 Hoyt in Everett.

Q: Are any of these events scheduled in south Snohomish County?

A: Yes, a public information session also is scheduled from 2-6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Lynnwood Senior Center, 19000 44th Ave. W. Free flu shots and blood pressure screenings also will be available.

Q: What’s the deadline if I want to sign up?

A: People have until Dec. 15 to sign up for health insurance that starts Jan. 1.

Q: What’s the March 30, 2014, deadline I keep hearing about?

A: That’s the deadline for people who don’t have insurance to sign up for it, either through programs like Washington’s Apple Health, the expanded Medicaid program, or buying individual insurance plans.

Q: What happens if I don’t sign up?

A: There’s a tax penalty of $95 per adult and a maximum of $285 per family.

Q: Can I get help paying for insurance?

A: Yes, there are tax subsidies available for many households to help pay for health insurance. For example, a family of four can make up to $94,200 and qualify for a tax subsidy.

Q: I have health insurance through my job. Does this affect me?

A: No, this is for people who don’t have health insurance. There are an estimated 100,000 uninsured children and adults in Snohomish County.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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