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State health group honors Sequim’s Castell Insurance
Castell Insurance, 426 E. Washington St., Sequim, recently received a prestigious award from the Washington State Health Care Authority and congratulations from Gov. Jay Inslee, as one of three insurance agencies across the state.
“We believe we were nominated by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange staff,” said owner Phil Castell, “because we had a good working relationship with them. The agency has been given a great honor.”
The Castell Insurance team worked to sign up 850 people in the enrollment period of Oct. 1-March 31 as part of the Affordable Care Act. However, Castell gives much of the credit to agent Stephany Shackelford, along with her colleagues John Coulson and James Castell.
“Stephany wrote most of the policies,” Phil Castell said. “Great kudos to Stephany who did most of the forging of relationships within the Exchange,” including long wait times on the phone waiting to access the Exchange.
“We all had two to 20 problems we had to solve with the Exchange over the enrollment period,” Coulson said. “One of the reasons I believe we were nominated is because we went out of our way to help enroll people in the Apple Health Program (state Medicaid),” Castell added.
Shackelford attended the awards ceremony in Seattle on April 23 with Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray, along with the other winners.
In part, a letter from the governor said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your outstanding contributions to the success of Washington state’s first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. … Your work has made an enormous difference in people’s lives and I applaud your energy and diligence during this critical enrollment period. … Again, thank you for your dedicated efforts. You have been part of a defining moment in history and together we are building a brighter and healthier future for all Washingtonians.”
“It was very nice meeting the governor and meeting others who do what we do,” Shackelford said.
“It was exciting to hear the final enrollment numbers to see how many signed up across the state (146,000 in private plans and 403,000 in Apple Health). We realized we had been nominated but didn’t know we won until the day before. A lot of it was a learning curve and even though it was new and different, it was nice to hear, ‘You guys did a great job,’”
Castell noted, “It was just nice for a small town agency to be recognized rather than large agencies in large cities. It’s hometown pride.”
The Authority was so impressed with the Castell team that representatives visited the Sequim office and asked team members to provide suggestions on improving the enrollment process — and they complied with a dozen or more.
“We’re very pleased that they asked for our constructive feedback,” Castell said. “We feel like we’ve worked very hard for six months and this is the icing on the cake for all our hard work.”