After a couple weeks of operation, it has become clear that we need to provide additional information regarding the toll-free health care hotline for WEA members (and WEA Select Members). This update is intended to make sure people better understand the service so they know what to expect when calling in.

This service is meant to supplement the tools and information that the state is providing. Callers should be aware that many of their questions may not be answered on the call itself, and that the help-line staff will probably need to do some follow-up work and get back to them. Depending upon the nature of the questions, it could take a few days for that to occur.

We'd also recommend that our members take the following steps before calling the number:

1. Review the enrollment guide. One has been mailed to every household, and it is also available online.

2. Make a list of questions. Before calling the toll-free number, seek answers from these sources:

  • The HCA website has information on topics including how to prepare for open enrollment, compare plans, check costs, learn about dependent verification and possible surcharges.
  • WEA's website has Information and resources including FAQs and links to other sites.
  • This Information and Referral sheet  details the best contact for types of questions you may have.
  • If it's an option, consider attending a benefit fair in your area.

3. Have information about your current plan, such as deductibles, co-payments, specific providers or prescriptions, and what you'd like moving forward.

Callers should have their questions ready and let the customer service rep know if they have more than one question.

The customer service reps will do their best to help callers navigate the online resources available and connect people to the right resources to get their questions answered. And while they may not be able to address every question immediately -- the intent is to ensure every member knows that there is a place they can call and get a helping hand to work through the transition process to the state-sponsored SEBB program.

Finally, because some of the answers may take time, our members shouldn't wait until the end of open enrollment to work through the transition. The earlier they begin reviewing the information above, the sooner they will know if they need help. The hotline may get very busy as we get near the end of open enrollment -- so people should give themselves as much time as possible.

We know this is different from how we originally described the hotline service -- as we thought many of the questions would be easily answered by the hotline staff. It's a little more involved than that. We apologize for any confusion that has resulted.