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Mercer Island woman to tour state urging health care sign-ups

As a four-time cancer survivor, Julie Negrin finds that these days it is tough to even leave the house. Still, Negrin is packing her meds to embark on a statewide RV tour to get people to apply for a health care plan before the enrollment window closes. (Photo: KOMO News)

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. – As a four-time cancer survivor, Julie Negrin finds that these days it is tough to even leave the house. Still, Negrin is packing her meds to embark on a statewide RV tour to get people to apply for a health care plan before the enrollment window closes.

“I've been really passionate about protecting the ACA because it helped save my life," Negrin said.

Starting Wednesday, health insurance sign ups under the Affordable Care Act will begin on Washington's health exchange - and the state is trying to end the confusion around the embattled program. Just a few weeks ago Congress tried to repeal Obamacare. Now, states that rely on the federal program face a shortened enrollment period, as well as cut backs to counselors who walk people through the options.

However, the health exchanges in Washington state are going strong and Negrin will go on tour as new uncertainties confront enrollees.

“It's scary that there's so many changes that are happening in such a short amount of time,” she said.

Negrin wants people to know that Washington operates its own marketplace - so people can still get subsidies to lower premium costs. Also, depending on the county, they can still find plenty of insurers and plans to choose from.

Washington has a longer enrollment window than states that are more reliant on federal funding, and will accept applications until January 15, 2017.

However, people are encouraged to complete their application by December 15 so that coverage will begin at the start of the year.

Negrin heads out for the RV tour this Friday to advocate for the ACA. Her first stop is Wenatchee, followed by Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Yakima.

“I'm just doing whatever I can while I'm still here and still able,” Negrin said.

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