Expect to wait. And wait. The brave souls that signed into WA State’s online health-insurance exchange yesterday (www.wahealthplanfinder.org) found out what patience means. Periodic crashes and slow loading times were the norm.
Despite being very, very slow, the site seemed easy to use, commented someone who labored through the sign-up.
After creating an account and providing basic info, you’re directed to an online marketplace. One visitor said it wasn’t that much different from being on Amazon.com, eBay, etc.
A wide variety of plans are offered – some two dozen, by one estimate. Evidently, they cover only medical – not dental or vision. The benefits and prices vary dramatically, depending on your personal profile and willingness to accept higher deductibles and co-pays.
It takes a lot of time to comparison shop. While the website does allow you to compare plans directly on various criteria, this feature applies only to three plans at a time.
“Seems like a central marketplace for buying insurance at slightly more competitive rates,” commented someone who spent six hours yesterday navigating the exchange.
The good thing is that the WA health-insurance exchange is just one of the many ways you can shop for insurance coverage. And there’s no rush to go online this month, while the web traffic is at peak levels and the bugs are being worked out.
Look for more info on the WA health-insurance exchange in the October issue of Navigator.