Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare: How to get answers locally to your questions

By Peninsula Daily News staff

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FOR FURTHER REFERENCE: "Study estimates Obamacare's health-insurance premiums — and how and where to enroll beginning Oct. 1" —

"A User's Guide to the Affordable Care Act" by the Seattle Times —

A TOWN HALL meeting in Forks tonight (Monday, Sept. 23) and a free seminar in Port Hadlock on Thursday are among the places where people can get information on the Affordable Health Care Act and the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange.

Castell Insurance of Sequim also will host Saturday the third of four free seminars on options available. All are at the Holiday Inn Express, 1441 E. Washington St., in Sequim. Registration is necessary.

Beginning in January, people may be eligible for affordable health insurance through the Affordable Health Care Act, which requires people to have health insurance starting in 2014.

The state online exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act to find and purchase individual insurance plans is at

A site with a similar address — — is not run by the state but by a Seattle-based health-insurance brokerage called the Health Insurance Team.


Tonight's meeting in Forks will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 941 Merchants Road.

Those from 19 to 65 years old are encouraged to attend and learn about the health care insurance mandate and to make an appointment to look at options for health care coverage.

The meeting is sponsored by Senior Information & Assistance of Forks and Forks Community Hospital.

Port Hadlock

A free seminar on the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange will be offered at the Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The program will be presented by Erin Brown, financial counseling supervisor at Jefferson Healthcare and Kristin Manwaring of Kristen Manwaring Insurance.

Brown will give an overview of the Affordable Health Care Act and the state online website.

She also will review how individuals can get assistance during open enrollment from Jefferson Healthcare, Jefferson County Public Health and the Olympic Area Agency on Aging.

For more information, or phone 360-365-6544.

Manwaring and her staff are licensed insurance agents and will be certified with the Washington State Exchange, according to a prepared statement.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has said that more than 1,000 certified insurance brokers will be available to help people enroll in new health coverage options.

No list is yet available on the state website at

Instead, people are encouraged to contact their current brokers or email the state at to find one.


Phil Castell and the staff of Castell Insurance at 426 E. Washington St., Sequim, have attended classes by the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner and met with insurance companies that will offer health plans.

They will discuss the federal Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” as well as the sign-up period that begins Oct. 1, the workings of the state exchange, how to shop for a plan, pluses and minuses of the four levels of plans available — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — and the availability of tax credits.

“My office has devoted many hundreds of hours to learning everything possible about this subject,” Castell said.

Saturday's seminar will be from 10 a.m. to noon at the Holiday Inn Express.

Another seminar is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.

To register, contact Julie Speelman at 360-683-9284 or

For more information, see

Beginning Oct. 1, people can get information from representatives at seven agencies on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The agencies, and the offices where help can be found, are:

■   Olympic Area Agency on Aging — 411 W. Washington St., Sequim, 360-452-3221; 481 Fifth Ave., Forks, 360-374-9496; and 915 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-2552.

■   Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics — 909 Georgiana St., Port Angeles, 360-457-4431.

■   Olympic Medical Center — 939 Caroline St., Port Angeles, 360-417-7000.

■   Jefferson Healthcare hospital — 834 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-2200

■   Jefferson County Public Health Department — 615 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, 360-385-9400.

■   Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Port Angeles Health Center — 426 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles; 800-230-7526.

■   Forks Community Hospital, 530 Bogachiel Way; 360-374-6271.

Some agencies may provide outreach and education before Oct. 1.

Last modified: September 22. 2013 11:13PM
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