State health exchange website up after morning snag

  • By Donna Blankinship and Rachel La Corte Associated Press
  • Tuesday, October 1, 2013 2:22pm
  • Local NewsNorthwest

SEATTLE — The website for Washington state’s new health exchange got off to a rough start on Tuesday. It was off line for nearly six hours after officials shut it down to assess why it was operating so slowly.

The wahealthplanfinder.org website went back online just after 2 p.m.

Michael Marchand, a spokesman for the new health insurance marketplace, says the problem was not related to the volume of visitors or to the federal government shutdown.

Marchand compared the experience to any new software launch and said glitches come with the territory.

Meanwhile, people continued to sign up for health insurance in Washington state by telephone or in person. Officials say it takes about an hour to go through the process for an individual or a little longer for a family sign-up.

Washington officials also warned people not to be fooled by fraud sites set up to look like wahealthplanfinder.org. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler asked Washington residents to report any look-alike sites to his office.

Some of those sites were set up by licensed insurance agents, attempting to increase business, but others may be scammers attempting to get personal information such as Social Security numbers, said Richard Onizuka, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Washington residents have six months to buy health insurance through the new exchange during the first enrollment period, which ends in March.

The state estimates about a million Washington residents do not have health insurance, or about 1 in 7 people.

The state hopes to enroll 130,000 people for health insurance in 2014 and another 280,000 in 2015.

Another 325,000 people will be eligible to sign up for free insurance through Medicaid.

Under the Affordable Care Act, people who don’t have insurance in 2014 will pay a fine when they file their federal income taxes in early 2015. The fines for people who ignore the new law are scheduled to increase over time.

“We want 6.5 million people to go to healthplanfinder to check it out,” Marchand said Monday.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Agency didn’t expect such big demand for needle clean-up kits

The Snohomish Health District ran out of supplies quickly, but more are arriving daily.

EvCC teachers take their contract concerns to the board

Their union says negotiations have been disappointingly slow. The community college isn’t commenting.

Here’s what to do if you want to vote and aren’t registered

Oct. 30 is the deadline for new-voter registration in time for the November election.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Luring attempt reported in Mountlake Terrace

The driver allegedly instructed a boy to get in the truck and help grab a scooter he was giving away.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Most Read