Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange closes Dec. 15 at 11:59 p.m. (Washington Health Benefit Exchange)

Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange closes Dec. 15 at 11:59 p.m. (Washington Health Benefit Exchange)

Enrollment deadline for signing up for Obamacare is Tuesday

Health insurance plans need to be purchased by 11:59 p.m. for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

By Ryan Blethen / The Seattle Times

Tuesday is the last day to sign up for health insurance through the state for 2021.

Open enrollment for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange closes Tuesday night. Health insurance plans need to be purchased through the state’s marketplace by 11:59 p.m. for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

As of Thursday, more than 200,000 people have selected a health insurance plan offered through the exchange, a 5% increase compared to the same period last year.

Plans can be selected through the exchange website, WAhealthplanfinder.org, or by telephone at 1-855-923-4633.

The coronavirus pandemic makes it even more important for people not to put off getting health insurance, said Pam MacEwan, chief executive officer of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

“As COVID-19 infection rates rise throughout our state, it is important not to leave this decision to the last minute or choose to forgo health coverage,” MacEwan said.

People who miss the Tuesday deadline but sign up for a health insurance plan before Jan. 15, 2021, will have coverage begin in February 2021.

The exchange began in 2013, after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, also known as Obamacare, was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. The rate of uninsured Washingtonians ages 18 to 64 dropped from 14% in 2013 to about 6% in 2017. In King County, the rate dropped from about 16% to 8% in that time. Nationwide, it dropped from 15% to 9%.

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