WA: King County Launches Neighborhood Health Enrollment Campaign

0411_dow_bigThis week King County kick-started an ambitious effort, aiming to enroll 180,000 King County residents in the new health insurance programs through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Today, more than 100 volunteers and staff members from Seattle and King County Public Health will spread out across the county to share information about new health care opportunities available through the Affordable Care Act and Washington Healthplanfinder.

This grassroots outreach launches a six-month enrollment campaign, a central component of King County Executive Dow Constantine’s initiative for full enrollment.

“National healthcare reform presents an extraordinary opportunity, and one that must not be missed, to get those who are newly eligible signed up for affordable health insurance,” said Executive Constantine. “We’re mobilizing an unprecedented community effort to connect people to effective preventive care early, rather than expensive treatment later.”

Constantine’s proposed budget for 2014-2015 includes one-time funding for three access and outreach workers to help enroll eligible individuals for health coverage on the Exchange. In the long term, these investments will save money, the office of Public Health said in a Sept. 18 press release.

“Thanks to this historic change, the lack of affordable insurance will no longer [is] a major cause of disease or poor health,” said Dr. David Fleming, MD, Director and Health Officer for Seattle & King County Public Health. “When people have access to affordable health care, they can lead healthier, more productive lives.