Washington Health Insurance
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many Washington state residents now have different ways to access health insurance. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, in March 2012, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the bill that established the state’s exchange, now called Washington Healthplanfinder.
Washington is one of 27 states including Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid coverage in 2014.
You can find the Washington health insurance marketplace at WaHealthPlanFinder.org to register for an account and apply for Washington health insurance. Once the application process has been completed during open enrollment, you can research private marketplace plans.
You can also learn if you or members of your family qualify for tax credits that subsidize private plans, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, called CHIP.
Do you qualify for a Washington health insurance subsidy?
According to a January 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation profile of the uninsured in Washington, about 70 percent of formerly uninsured people in the state now qualify for some type of financial assistance to help pay for medical coverage. Qualification is usually determined by income and family size, but people with access to other affordable Washington health insurance may not be eligible for assistance.
Here’s what Washington families and individuals should know about financial assistance surrounding health insurance.
- Typically, eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP is determined using 2014 poverty level guidelines, and eligibility for subsidies is determined using 2013 limits.
- People with income between 100 and 400 percent of the poverty level may qualify for a subsidy, which offsets the costs of plans purchased on the exchange. This range would be between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four and $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual.
- Adults with a family income below 138 percent of the poverty level, or about $32,915 for a family of four, might qualify for Medicaid.
- Children from Washington families with incomes below 305 percent of the poverty level, or about $72,740 for a family of four, may be eligible for CHIP benefits.
Some Washington residents may earn too much to qualify for financial assistance or have access to other health plans, but you may still choose a plan on the private marketplace. All qualified plans must provide minimum mandated benefits, and insurers cannot deny you coverage based on a pre-existing health condition.
Marketplace health insurance companies in Washington
These insurance companies offer statewide or regional marketplace plans for Washington residents:
- BridgeSpan Health Company
- Community Health Plan of Washington
- Coordinated Care
- Group Health Cooperative
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
- LifeWise Health Plan of Washington
- Molina Healthcare of Washington
- Premera Blue Cross
- Seattle Children’s Hospital (for certain plans)
Washington health and coverage statistics
Washington population (2013): 6,971,406
Population 65 and older (2012): 13.2 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 79.9 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 1,074,900
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 871,700
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 959,300
Overall state health ranking (2014): 14
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Washington health insurance resources
Washington State Department of Health: http://www.doh.wa.gov/
Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/
Washington Apple Health (Medicaid and CHIP): http://www.hca.wa.gov/medicaid/Pages/index.aspx
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/washington/