With open enrollment in Washington's health insurance exchange fast approaching, a customer support center started taking calls in Spokane this morning to answer questions about new healthcare options under the Affordable Care Act.
“We had more than 100 calls in the first hour.” says Michael Marchand, director of communications of Washington Healthplanfinder, the state's online insurance marketplace. “We’re expecting that to ramp up even higher.”
Call center representatives aren’t authorized to make any recommendations for specific plans. However, they are trained to help callers prepare for the insurance application process; understand their coverage options and eligibility for financial help; and navigate the Washington Healthplanfinder website. Starting on Oct. 1, operators can help enroll callers in insurance plans offered through the online exchange.
“Everyone’s individual situation is different than the next caller on the line. We very much want to be attentive to that,” says Marchand.
In addition to the call center, a network of almost 100 community organizations and clinics are providing in-person assistance, including the NATIVE Project, YWCA, Volunteers of America and Better Health Together, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Empire Health Foundation, which will lead on-the-ground support services in the area.
So far, the call center, which is staffed by 80 people, is the only one in the state. Marchand says the exchange chose Spokane because of its strong workforce in customer support.
You can reach operators by calling 1-855-923-4633 on weekdays from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm. Help is available in up to 175 different languages.
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