County launches ‘on the ground’ health enrollment campaign

An ambitious effort hits high gear this week, aiming to enroll 180,000 King County residents in a new health insurance program.

Last Friday, more than 100 volunteers and staff members from Public Health – Seattle & King County spread out across the county to share information about low-cost health insurance options made possible by the Affordable Care Act and available through Washington Healthplanfinder.

This on-the-ground outreach launches a six-month enrollment campaign, a central part of King County Executive Dow Constantine’s initiative for full enrollment.

“National health care 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 Constantine. “We’re mobilizing an unprecedented community effort to connect people to effective preventive care early, rather than expensive treatment later.”

The county executive’s proposed biennial budget includes one-time funding for three access and outreach workers to help enroll people who become eligible for free or low-cost health coverage on Oct. 1.

In the longer term, these investments will save money, health officials say.

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

Public Health – Seattle & King County is leading a broad network of partners — from the health sector, community-based organizations, the faith community, the business community, and county agencies —  that joined the outreach effort.

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