Doctor Stephen Hennessy, with Valley View Health Center, conducts a drive-up COVID-19 test Thursday afternoon in Centralia.

According to the Washington Health Benefits Exchange, 16,000 people signed up for a health insurance plan through Washington Healthplanfinder since March 10, when a special enrollment period was announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) enrollments have also increased. 

The special enrollment period lasts through May 8 and allows anyone uninsured and eligible for a plan to enroll. 

Of the 16,000 enrollments, 6,000 were previously uninsured people who bought insurance due to the COVID-19 special enrollment period and 10,000 signed up after another qualifying life event, such as losing a job, experiencing a change in income or other event.

“I want to remind individuals that they can get the coverage they need during this crisis through Washington Healthplanfinder,” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “I know there are thousands of people out there who have either lost their health insurance or were uninsured when this crisis began. There is a path to coverage ready for them.” 

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