Health Exchange Glitch Means Hundreds of Wash. Customers Won't Get Subsides

By Gabriel Spitzer

Nearly a thousand people who bought discounted health plans on Washington’s exchange have learned they won’t be getting their promised subsidies this month (January). Officials with the exchange blame technical problems. They say customers will get the subsidy when they do their taxes in 2015.

Jack Brown of Puyallup has a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. He already paid about $400 for January coverage. Now he's just learned he owes another $775 to cover what the feds should have paid.

Brown: “I was under the assumption that everything was fine and dandy – it’s like they changed their mind. And now all of a sudden I’m in a bind not only financially, but not getting the health care that I need.”

Brown decided to skip coverage for January and put off his cancer treatments until next month.

Exchange spokesman Michael Marchand says the exchange can’t just pick up the tab for this error, because the terms of the system’s federal funding won’t allow it. He says staff simply weren’t able to finish processing this group of nearly a thousand applications in time. He says the problem should be corrected next month.

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