Washington health exchange 81,000 people short of enrollment goal

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington health exchange is 81,000 short of its goal for signing people up for insurance this year. But the people who run Washington Healthplanfinder are not panicking, even though open enrollment ends in just over a week.

They remain optimistic there will be a last minute rush to buy coverage, and exchange spokesman Michael Marchand has a long list of other ways to explain the enrollment shortfall.

That list includes a recognition that 10,000 people who bought insurance on the exchange last year, qualified for free insurance this year through Medicaid.

He also notes that more than 30,000 signed up for insurance during the last two weeks of open enrollment last year.

Thousands of others moved out of state, got a job or access to insurance in another way or got old enough for Medicare.