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Originally published December 19, 2013 at 6:40 PM | Page modified December 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM

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Finding health-insurance help

Some sources to help navigate the sign-up process.

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Here are some online sources to help with health-insurance sign-ups and other issues. Remember, you have until March 31 to sign up for health insurance.

But if you want your coverage to start Jan 1, your deadline to start the application process in the Washington Healthplanfinder, the Washington state health-insurance marketplace, is Dec. 23, with a payment deadline of Jan. 15.

If you’re having trouble getting your application into Healthplanfinder, you can buy a private plan outside the exchange now — or let your insurer automatically enroll you in the plan most like the one you’ve had — and then get onto Healthplanfinder later in January or February and potentially switch plans.

For new health insurance through Medicaid, the deadline is Dec. 31 for coverage beginning Jan. 1. For Medicaid clients who are renewing enrollment, the deadline is Dec. 31 to renew by Jan. 1. But if you miss that deadline, you can renew in January and coverage will be retroactive to Jan. 1.

Washington Healthplanfinder: The Washington state health-insurance marketplace.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange: The public-private partnership that operates the Healthplanfinder.

Office of the Insurance Commissioner: The state’s top insurance-industry regulator. You can find what plans are sold in your county, both inside and outside Healthplanfinder.

In-person assisters: These are workers largely from community-service or health-related organizations who can help individuals navigate the exchange. They’re funded through grants to the organizations.

Navigators: Another name for in-person assisters. You can search for them by your ZIP code.

Insurance brokers trained in exchange plans: Many insurance brokers went through training so that they could sell exchange plans. They can help consumers navigate the process.

Insurance brokers general information: You can find information on all licensed brokers in the state.

MAGI definition: One key to figuring out whether you qualify for a tax credit to help pay for a plan is to determine your modified adjusted gross income.

Paper application: You can apply on paper for plan and tax credits on the Healthplanfinder exchange marketplace (don’t forget to add in interest income).

WithinReach: WithinReach’s Family Health Hotline can help sort out tricky Medicaid or other health-insurance questions for families.

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