By Stefanie Donahue
As the deadline to renew or sign up for a health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder quickly approaches, the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement (WAHA) and Touchstone Health Clinic has stepped up to help people navigate the
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, December 8, WAHA personnel will be at TouchStone Health Clinic, 288 Martin Street, to help people shop for health and dental plans, find out if they qualify for financial assistance and answer questions.
Bellingham-based WAHA is a nonprofit organization that helps connect people to health-related services in Whatcom County. From now until the deadline, it offers free face-to-face consultations with Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA).
Open enrollment ends on Friday, December 15 for coverage starting January 1. For plans starting February 1, Washington Healthplanfinder is accepting applications until Monday, January 15; after which, people will have to wait until next year’s open
Those already covered through Washington Healthplanfinder should have received a letter in October detailing how to renew. Letters for those people whose plans were being discontinued were also sent out while others may have been notified that their plans would be automatically renewed. Automatic renewal individuals only need to pay their monthly premium to receive renewed coverage starting January 1.
Some people qualify for a special enrollment period which allows 60 days to sign up for coverage or a new plan, based on certain life changes or special circumstances. For those enrolled in Washington Apple Health, enrollment is year-round.
In addition to WAHA (360/788-6594), five other locations in Whatcom County offer assistance to individuals who need help with their coverage, including Unity Care Northwest (360/788-2669), Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood (360/603-7716), Opportunity Council (360/599-3944), Refugee and Immigrant Services NW (360/714-4190) and Sea Mar (360/671-3225).
To shop for a plan and compare your options, visit wahealthplanfinder.org.