SPOKANE, Wash. - President Obama announced Thursday eight million people have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while enrollment numbers in Washington and Idaho have been relatively high so far,
According to Washington's insurance commissioner, 146,000 people signed up for private insurance in the first six months. In Idaho, 44,000 people signed up, making the Gem State second in the nation per capita. So why has it been so successful in our two states? Washington and Idaho created their own state-run exchanges, while many states didn't and rely on the federal government.
Washington and Idaho have their own online marketplaces for families to shop for insurance and, despite some challenges like website issues, they've proven to be effective in enrolling people for health care.
Deanna Davis with Better Health Together said sign-up numbers in eastern Washington were higher than expected.
"We did triple enrollments than what we projected to do in our 14 country region," Davis said.
While 146,000 Washingtonians signed up for private coverage during the six month period, approximately 7,000 signed up in the Spokane area. That number could increase because the March figures haven't been released yet.
"We were number two in the state in terms of exceeding our goals for enrollment," Davis said.
Idaho doesn't have a county by county break-down of sign ups but, at the end of February, 44,000 Idahoans had signed up for private health insurance.
"We did get a warm reception than had originally been thought which is great because there definitely is a divide on buying health insurance through this method," Ashley Piaskowoski said.
Piaskowoski, who works with Heritage Health, helped get people covered in North Idaho.
"We were pretty busy, we would see as many as a hundred so a week," she said.
While the six-month enrollment process wasn't met without glitches, Piaskowosi said overall it went well.
Even though the deadline has passed, Washingtonians who have had a major life change, like marriage, a move or had a child can still sign up for coverage. Otherwise, the next enrollment period starts November 15.