Health care sign-up was a success | Letters

Fifteen Orcas residents and families signed up for health insurance Thursday, Dec. 14 thanks to the help of the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement.

The assistance event was coordinated by Our Revolution – San Juan County in conjunction with the San Juan County Democrats.

UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic and Rock Island Communications provided space and Internet conductivity for the sign-up.

“It was amazingly successful,” described Heather Mueller, WAHA Navigator Program Regional Coordinator. “We were able to help so many people.”

The process was made easier with the professional help – sometimes only 10-15 minutes long.

“I appreciated the diverse group that came in to sign up,” noted Brad Brown, Our Revolution health care advocate. “Young, old, male, female. Some who hadn’t had health insurance for years, and now they do.”

The sign-up was the cap to a yearlong series of health care presentations organized by Our Revolution. The seven prior events covered such topics as county health services, statewide health care initiatives and specialized service provisions such as Planned Parenthood.

The night before the sign-up, health care activist Julie Negrin spoke in favor of the Affordable Care Act to local crusaders. She has been touring the Northwest explaining how the ACA saved her life and reminding all who would listen to know that she is not alone in that.

As part of a continuing effort, Our Revolution helped bring together organizations and individuals on the island who can continue to sign up individuals into the Washington State Apple Care system and navigate the health insurance exchange so that they can be covered in 2018.

The deadline for non-Apple Care insurance enrollment is January 15 in Washington State. Those who qualify for Apple Care can sign up all year long.

There is still a tax penalty for 2018 against those who have no health insurance.

To see if someone qualifies for Apple Care, insurance subsidies, or to receive assistance in navigating the health insurance exchange, they can call WAHA at 360-788-6526.

Our Revolution – San Juan County