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Washington Health Benefit Exchange selects Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for Customer Support Program

June 5, 2013

Tacoma, Wash. - The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced the selection of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to help Pierce County residents find, compare and enroll in health insurance programs. The in-person assistance effort is part of the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Program.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is one of 10 organizations, including public health agencies, coalitions, regional health networks, and other community organizations chosen statewide to build and oversee a network of community partners that will help residents enroll in a qualified health plan starting Oct. 1, 2013 for coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s efforts will provide residents with impartial information to help them determine which health insurance options best fits their needs. These efforts may take place through in-person meetings, online communications and over the phone.

"We are pleased that the Washington Health Benefits Exchange has selected Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department as the lead organization to coordinate its In-Person Assister Program for Pierce County," said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of health. "We look forward to working with our partners and the community to make sure that everyone can get the health care coverage they need to be healthy."

To ensure statewide consistency, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will lead curriculum and training materials development to effectively train Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and other lead organizations. These organizations will then be responsible for training their partner networks. All organizations will need to pass a certification exam before working with consumers.

"We are excited to partner with such knowledgeable and trusted organizations that are experts at reaching people in their communities," said Richard Onizuka, Ph.D, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "Their work will help connect hundreds of thousands of people with quality health coverage - many for the first time."

The Exchange has received a total of $6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the program in all areas of the state via lead organizations.

Find more information about Washington Healthplanfinder and the Washington Health Benefit at www.wahbexchange.org.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
Established in 1876, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. They focus their efforts through policy, programs and treatment to improve the health of Pierce County residents through three critical areas: Communicable Disease and Control, detecting outbreaks and targeting response efforts; Environmental Health, ensuring people have access to healthy foods and healthy environments; and Strengthening Families by collaborating with other agencies, health care providers, schools, and community coalitions to systemically improve the health of children and families. Serving the second largest county in the state with a population of more than 800,000, the Department’s vision is "Healthy People in Healthy Communities."

About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) with the goal to redefine people’s experience with health care through the creation of a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in December 2011.

About Washington Healthplanfinder
Washington Healthplanfinder will be a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Washington Healthplanfinder will begin enrolling consumers on Oct. 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Edie Jeffers
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
(253) 798-2853 or (253)405-6822
ejeffers@tpchd.org

Bethany Frey
Washington Healthplanfinder
360-688-7752
Bethany.Frey@wahbexchange.org

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