Day For In-Person Insurance Help Brought Out Crowd in Spokane

By Steve Jackson

The Washington Health Exchange held an informational and sign up event in Spokane Oct. 17, and the event in the west central neighborhood drew a decent audience. On hand were several in-person “assisters” to help people with questions, as well as a large trailer than had several computers set up to sign people up to the health insurance programs available.

One of the assisters, Jaylinn Pace, said a majority of the people he had worked with by mid afternoon were low income folks who were qualifying to get free coverage through Medicaid, but that others were finding that they could get insurance at very reduced rates. One example was a couple who earned $24,000 a year.

Pace: “I worked with a woman today, she was with group health, and they purchased it on their own, because the employer didn’t offer insurance, and they were paying $500 a month, based on their income, her husband was the only worker in the home, they’ll qualify for a subsidy and it should be only $40 a month.”
 
One of those who was excited about the availability of coverage was David Johnston, who is employed in development of a computer app, but who has not been able to afford health insurance for the last three years for his wife and three children.
 
Johnston: “When your self employed your right at that middle ground and you cant get state assistance because your gross is too high, and we got some quotes and it was $1,550 bucks for me, my wife and 3 kids, and we were like do we pick groceries or health insurance?”
 
Johnstonsaid the health exchange information he got Wednesday means he will be able to purchase insurance for about a third of the cost of those previous offers.
 
Another one of the assisters, Tina Kamkosi, said that small businesses can also take advantage of the heath exchange offerings:
 
Kamkosi: “Right now for the small employers, these are people who have 50 or less employees, they have tax incentives if they go through the exchange, or the health plan finder they can get some incentives if they go through the exchange.”

For more information on the exchange, you can visit wahealthplanfinder.org, or call (877) 425-1441.

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