Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which will operate the Washington Healthplanfinder being formed as part of the Affordable Care Act, said Thursday that Spokane will be the site of a call center employing 60 people.
It also announced that it selected Hampton, Va.-based Faneuil Inc. to operate the call center for Washington Healthplanfinder, the state's new online health insurance marketplace launching this fall.
The Spokane call center will open in September. Residents will begin enrolling Oct. 1 for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Washington Healthplanfinder will offer an online marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can make apples-to-apples comparisons of health insurance plans, determine if they are eligible for low-cost or free options, and choose the plan that fits their needs and budget.
Beth Walter, director of operations for Washington Healthplanfinder, said, "(Faneuil) has extensive experience developing and providing exemplary customer service in highly complex environments - a skill that will be important to our overall success with Washington Healthplanfinder."
Faneuil's program implementation history was a key factor in its selection, Washington Healthplanfinder said. The company's ability to deploy staff while remaining flexible to changing conditions allows its call centers to accommodate varying call volumes, which is important for startup programs with uncertain customer demand.
"We're honored that the state of Washington recognizes how we have represented and supported our call-center clients for the past 20 years," said Anna Van Buren, CEO for Faneuil. "We're excited about the quality workforce available for this call center in Spokane and we are privileged to be asked to be part of this new initiative to help Washington residents."
Call-center representatives will be prepared to answer questions regarding health plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder, the enrollment process, and eligibility for financial assistance to help pay for co-pays and premiums.
In addition to the 60 representatives located in Spokane, there will be overflow staff available, including bilingual representatives for Spanish speakers. Representatives also will have access to a language line with translation capabilities for 175 different languages.