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Slow Start, Mixed Results For Health Care Law In Northwest

A screengrab of Washington's health plan finder website.
Washington Health Benefit Exchange
A screengrab of Washington's health plan finder website.

The first numbers on enrollment under the new health care law confirm a slow start and mixed results in Northwest states.

The long-awaited numbers cover the first month of the new health care marketplaces.

Washington, which launched its own exchange, ranks third behind California and New York in terms of the number of people enrolled with 7,091.

For the time being, Idahoans have to go through the problematic healthcare.gov website to sign up. But Amy Dowd of Your Health Idaho says with 338 sign-ups, the state is still doing much better compared to many others.

“We are actually very pleased with these figures,” she says.

Meanwhile in Oregon, no one was able to enroll in the first month. Managers at Cover Oregon are working through paper applications while they try to get the online exchange up and running.

Across the Northwest, nearly 80,000 applications have been completed, either online, over the phone or on paper – though not all of the applicants have chosen a plan yet.

More than 50,000 people in the three states were deemed eligible for free insurance under Medicaid.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.