Category Archives: WA Health Benefit Exchange

Washington Healthplan Finder Open for Shopping

Washington Healthplan Finder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Washington Healthplan Finder offers a wide range of resources to help people navigate their coverage options – including in-person enrollment centers, virtual video or phone assistance, and the WAPlanfinder Mobile App.

Open Enrollment Nov. 1 – Jan. 15

Starting Nov. 1, Washingtonians seeking health coverage can shop more options this year – with financial assistance – by visiting Washington Healthplan Finder to sign up for health and dental coverage. The qualified health and dental plans open enrollment period for enrollment is from Nov. 1, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021.

For those seeking coverage starting January 1, customers need to enroll in a plan by December 15. Those who enroll after that deadline and before January 15 will have a coverage start date of February 1.

Reminder: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families in need through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

About Washington Apple Health

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, such as cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplan Finder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov.

New Plans Offered in the Online Marketplace

New in the marketplace for 2021 will be Cascade Care offerings that enable consumers to shop, choose, and save from more options in all counties. Cascade Care plans offer high value, standard benefits.

Cascade Care is expanding access, choice, and value for Washingtonians at a time when they need it most. These plans offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs. Most customers will see that average premium costs and deductibles of Exchange plans are lower than previous years, including eight counties where a Cascade Care plans – either Cascade or Cascade Select – is the lowest-cost silver plan.

“As more Washingtonians are impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, having health coverage is crucial during these difficult times” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer, Pam MacEwan. “We encourage all Washingtonians who are seeking health coverage to shop Washington Healthplanfinder during open enrollment and find plans for how they’re living.”

“With new plans available, we encourage customers to shop around for the best health plan that fits their needs,” adds MacEwan. “For example, many renewing customers can switch to the lowest cost plan in their same metal tier and save money, and many customers can save more than $50 a month by shopping.”

More Information and Assistance Available

Washington Healthplan Finder offers a wide range of resources to help people navigate their coverage options – including in-person enrollment centers, virtual video or phone assistance, and the WAPlanfinder Mobile App. Anyone requiring help signing up for coverage through Washington Healthplan Finder may contact the Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604. They may also contact an Exchange certified Navigator, Broker, or Enrollment center who can answer insurance questions and help with enrollment. Free help from local experts is accessible via the WAPlanfinder Mobile App or by visiting www.wahealthplanfinder.org/.

During the 2021 open enrollment period, the Customer Support Center will be open 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Additionally, extended hours are scheduled each month through the enrollment period.

Prepare for the Application Process

Before starting the application process, customers will need to gather the following:

• Legal names of all household members
• Birthdates for household members
• Home and mailing address
• Social Security Number or immigration documents (Families which include  unlawfully present immigrants may also apply)
• Income information (recent pay stubs, tax return, or W-2)
• Tax filing status
• Current health plan information
• Tribal membership (if enrolled in a federally recognized tribe)

Reminder: workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable income and should not be included in the household income figures when applying for benefits.

Prior Posts on Related Topics

Deadline Extension for 2020 Health Coverage Ends September 30

As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (the Exchange) provided a deadline extension to individuals who had lost their health coverage. This extension ends on September 30, 2020.

Replacing Lost Insurance Coverage

Individuals who have lost health insurance coverage after March 1, 2020 during the public health emergency will have until September 30, 2020 to sign up for coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. Find more information, here.

Many Washingtonians lost their health coverage due to the pandemic. The typical 60-day sign up window for individuals losing coverage was extended earlier this year as part of the Exchange’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. They were given more time to enroll for insurance on the Exchange, until September 30, 2020.

Loss of coverage includes loss of minimum essential coverage (including employer-sponsored health coverage or COBRA) and loss of coverage from short-term limited duration plans or health sharing ministries.

Customers who sign up by September 15 can get coverage starting October 1. After September 15, coverage starts November 1.

Applications After September 30

Even after the deadline extension ends September 30, individuals losing employer coverage, or other minimum essential coverage, can still get covered. Individuals have up to 60 days before or after their coverage end date to report that change and sign up through the Exchange.

Standard qualifying events that allow individuals to sign up outside the annual open-enrollment period include:

  • Loss of coverage (including employer coverage, COBRA, or other types of minimum essential coverage)
  • A change in income that makes someone newly eligible for the federal subsidies (including people currently receiving coverage off-Exchange)
  • Marriage, birth of a child, or move within the state

Reminder: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. The next standard open enrollment period begins on Nov. 1, 2020.

Tips for Using the Washington Healthplanfinder

Note: Workers’ compensation benefits are NOT taxable income, and should NOT be included in the household income figure when applying for health benefits through the Exchange. This distinction is very important for all injured workers needing health insurance for themselves and their families.

Prior Posts on Related Topics

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Locations for Open Enrollment

Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).  Open enrollment for all other applicants runs from November 1st through December 15th.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced the locations for eleven full-service enrollment centers offering in-person assistance to customers signing up for health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder during the upcoming open enrollment period starting November 1.

Customers may obtain coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the WAPlanfinder mobile app, over the phone, or in person. The deadline for obtaining coverage is December 15th, with coverage beginning January 1st. Medicaid-eligible individuals can apply for and receive coverage through Washington Apple Health at any time throughout the year.

The Exchange offers a Customer Support Center based in Spokane Valley that employs more than 300 representatives during open enrollment period –including bi-lingual and multi-lingual services and provides a free telephonic interpreter service.

Along with ten Open Enrollment Center sites returning from last year, one new in-person assistance location will be available in Everett. Last year, enrollment centers served over 5,000 customers from November 1 through December 15.

Note: Workers’ compensation benefits are NOT taxable income, and should NOT be included in the household income figure when applying for health benefits through the exchange. This distinction is very important for all injured workers needing health insurance for themselves and their families.

Enrollment Centers will be located in:

  • Bellingham
  • Everett
  • Kennewick
  • Federal Way
  • Olympia
  • Seattle
  • Spokane
  • Tacoma
  • Vancouver
  • Wenatchee
  • Yakima

For complete contact information for each location, read the full announcement, here.

With the start of open enrollment quickly approaching, all Washington residents who need in-person assistance with enrollment are encouraged to now schedule an appointment to meet with a navigator or broker in their area. Connecting with in-person help is easiest through the WAPlanfinder mobile app that uses a customer’s current location to provide contact information for and detailed directions to the nearest navigators and brokers. Additional over-the-phone assistance is available by calling the Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633.

The WA Health Benefit Exchange Applauds Signing of House Bill 2516 by Gov. Jay Inslee

Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, issued the following statement on the signing of House Bill 2516 on March 13, 2018:

“The Washington Health Benefit Exchange applauds today’s signing of House Bill 2516 by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“This state-level legislation protects important progress made in Washington state under the Affordable Care Act. Our position as the state’s health insurance gateway is now stronger than ever, and despite continued uncertainty we may see at the federal level, this bill enables us to continue improving the customer experience for the people in our state.

“The bill’s removal of outdated requirements that no longer align with our current operations clears the way for the Exchange to better serve all residents of Washington state. This includes language that will allow us to innovate and operate in ways that allow our customers to connect with and maintain their health coverage. These changes also create opportunities for maximizing the state’s investment in the Exchange’s technology to further improve how people seek and receive health and health-related benefits.

“We would like to thank both the Governor and the Washington state Legislature for their support on the passage of this legislation. Their combined efforts have resulted in a significant achievement for the future of the Exchange and how we deliver health coverage to more than 1.8 million residents of our state.”

Photo on Foter.com