Washington health care registration deadline fast approaching

Washington health care registration deadline fast approaching

SPOKANE, Wash. - The federal government is extending the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, but the extension does not apply to people living in Washington.

Washington State has an independent exchange, so as of now the enrollment deadline is still March 31, and there are a lot of ways people can still get help if they need it.

"I have been without health insurance as of may it will be five years," Sue Frasier said.

However on Wednesday she found out she's eligible for free health insurance. She's one of 31,000 people and counting in the Spokane area who will now have health insurance thanks to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

"It's definitely a benefit to know that if I do need to go to a doctor I can afford to go," she said.

But remember, if you want get health insurance, that March 31 is still looming.

"Washington State did our own state exchange, even though we are connected through the federal hub, our exchange works off of our own power and does our own thing separate from the federal exchange," Bethany Osgood with United Health Care said.

In recent weeks, Washington has seen a huge jump in enrollment, Osgood said. According to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, last week Washington hit four times the average weekly enrollment with over 12,000 new enrollees.

"I'm really excited about the surge that's coming in because people are having that Aha moment of, you know this will really benefit me, I can live a happier healthier life," Osgood said.

There are still many ways to get assistance to sign up and people like Frasier believe the most helpful is with an in-person assistant.

"It's extremely helpful to actually be able to sit down with somebody and tell them my circumstance and have them work with me on the numbers," Frasier said.

CHAS is hosting an open enrollment event this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their Maple Street clinic where people will be able to get in person assistance with enrollment.