By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
In the first days of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchange in Washington, the website was so swamped that the site crashed for a day and was glitchy for days thereafter.
But the website is not the only way to get information or to sign up for a low-cost insurance policy.
There are several options for Snohomish County residents to talk to an assistant face-to-face, by email or on the phone.
Safe Harbor Free Clinic and the Washington Health-Plan Finder offer trained volunteers to help individuals find the right plan; call (425) 870-7384 to schedule an appointment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask to be assigned to an IPA (In Person Assister) or a CAC (Certified Application Counselor).
Help can also be found at (855) WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633); the TTY Customer Support number is (855) 627-9604. The Customer Support Center is available in up to 175 languages; trained representatives are available weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Consumers can also email email@example.com, look up Washington Healthplanfinder on Facebook or visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
For individuals with a visual impairment, Braille and large print information is also available on request. Individuals with hearing impairment or disability can find accommodations through 711 Washington Relay.
If you need help signing up for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid for those earning little enough to qualify) or another low-cost Exchange policy, the Community Health Center of Snohomish County has Insurance Enrollment Specialists to help. Call (425) 789-3789 to make an appointment.
In Monroe, there are people who can meet with you and help you get signed up. Call or visit SeaMar Community Health, located at 17707 W.Main St. in Monroe.
Also, visit Valley General Hospital at 14701 179th Ave. S.E. or call (360) 794-7497; there are people there who can help.
Another place to get enrolled is Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. Call (866) 747-2455 or (425) 261-2000 or go to the website at http://washington.providence.org/.
A calendar of planned community events can be found at http://www.wahbexchange.org/news-resources/calendar/. Assistance will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Somali.
A bus tour is also in the planning stages to visit communities to inform and sign up consumers.
The mobile enrollment tour will launch in mid-October and features a bus equipped with internet-ready laptops and trained in-person assisters who will enroll people on-site. The bus will work with 10 in-person assistance organizations to make multiple stops throughout the state in October and November.
In order to enroll, you will need to know your birth date, social security number and income. Legal immigrants will need to supply a passport or other immigration documentation.