Tag Archives: health insurance

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

Health Benefit Exchange Extension

Get the coverage you need for 2020 through the Health Benefit Exchange!

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) announced that it will provide additional time for customers purchasing 2020 health insurance coverage. This will give those still needing health insurance until Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. to secure coverage that would start Feb. 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder.

The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) is available Dec. 16 through Dec. 30from 7:30a.m. to 8p.m. Monday through Friday —except holidays—to provide help signing up for coverage beginning Feb. 1. Additionally, in-person help will continue to be available at eleven full-service enrollment centers or through navigators and brokers located throughout the state and may be found using the WAPlanfinder app or online at Washington Healthplanfinder by clicking on the “Customer Support” tab.

Health Benefit Exchange Resources

Visit the Exchange for a complete step-by-step list of the application process from start to finish or a downloadable checklist

Customer Support Center Hours
 Monday – Friday, Dec. 16 – 30 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
 Tuesday, Dec. 24 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
 Wednesday, Dec. 25 Closed
 Tuesday, Dec. 31 Closed

As of Dec. 15 more than 209,000 completed their 2020 health plan selection through Washington Healthplanfinder, including more than 36,000 new enrollees.

Customers who have selected their health and dental coverage for next year should expect to receive a bill for payment of their first month’s premium. Information on submitting a premium payment is available by clicking the “Make Your Payment” on Washington Healthplanfinder.

See Related Article:

WASHINGTON HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE LOCATIONS FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT

Best Plan for Black Friday: Buy Health Insurance!

Open enrollment brings more health insurance plans, changing prices.

Washington residents buying health insurance coverage on Healthplanfinder should shop by December 15.

Many Washington residents seeking health insurance coverage on Washington Healthplanfinder will see more options and changing prices when shopping this year.   

This is happening because of new market entrants who are offering lower cost plans at all metal tiers. The result is that some residents will see changes to their tax credit as well as the opportunity to find new, lower cost plan options when buying coverage on the state’s marketplace.

Review Plans, You May Find Lower Priced Options

“Given the arrival of new plans to the health insurance landscape, we are encouraging existing customers to review their current options and make sure their plan meets their needs and budget,” explained Chief Marketing Officer Michael Marchland. “The lower priced silver plans mean changes to the tax credit available to qualified customers and this may be reflected in their 2020 premiums.”

Tax credits are calculated based on the premium of the second lowest cost silver plan available to consumers that plan year. This year, new lower priced plans are available in several counties, which means consumers may see a smaller tax credit for 2020 then they had last year. However, this may be offset by the availability of new plans with lower premiums.

The Exchange highly encourages customers to update their information, take advantage of their resources, and shop plans as other affordable options may be available starting November 1. To find the Navigator or  broker  nearest you: use the WAPlanfinder app or go to Washington Healthplanfinder.

Available resources for coverage

Chat will provide customers a platform to talk directly with customer support representatives—in English and Spanish—during business hours when they are logged into their user account.

Before Starting the Application Process

NOTE: The application process uses your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) figure for your household when establishing your entitlement levels and options. MAGI does NOT include workers’ compensation benefits (or Veteran’s benefits, or SSI benefits, and more). See a list of income types that are included and excluded, here, before you begin the application process.

Make sure you’re on the right site: WAHealthplanFinder.org. There are non-governmental sites with VERY similar looking website addresses – don’t be fooled into entering your private information into the wrong site!

If you’re a morning person, get a cup of coffee. If you’re a night owl, get a cup of coffee. Sign into your account each time you go onto the site. If you need to take a break, save your work and it will be there when you later log back in.

Gather all your information:

  • 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 still 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)

Visit the Exchange for a complete step-by-step list of the application process from start to finish or a downloadable checklist

Exchange Customer Support Available

See our prior post, WASHINGTON HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE LOCATIONS FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT, for more information.

Open enrollment for 2020 plans begins November 1 through December 15.  During this time the Exchange Customer Support call center based in Spokane Valley will be open normal operating hours and ready to receive calls from 7:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.  Additionally, extended hours scheduled:

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.

Examining Workers’ Compensation Costs to Employers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey 1991 – 2014 (Credit: Sisi Wei/ProPublica)

Today’s post comes from guest author Rod Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Business and insurance interests are bombarding state legislatures every day of the week to take workers’ rights away by complaining how most states’ workers’ compensation systems are too expensive.

Recently, ProPublica and NPR produced a very detailed explanation of the state of workers’ compensation, focusing, rightly so, on injured workers. This article, which was the first in the series, included an interactive graphic that showed that even though business are complaining about rising premius, workers’ compensation insurance coverage is generally at its lowest rate in 25 years, “even as the costs of health care have increased dramatically,” according to the article.

As examples, using the average premium cost to the employer per $100 of workers’ wages, Nebraska employers paid $1.93 in 1988, while they actually paid $.15 less for the premium in 2014, for a total of $1.78 per $100 of workers’ wages, according to the chart. Iowa was more dramatic, with the price of workers’ compensation insurance $2.79 per $100 of workers’ wages in 1988. It went down $.91 to $1.88 per $100 of workers’ wages in 2014.

By scrolling down in the article, a person finds another graphic that shows how employer costs have risen for other categories, but have fallen for workers’ compensation. Most notably, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance coverage (per $100 of workers’ wages) went from $2.71 in 1991 to $2.00 in 2014. During the same timeframe, the cost of health insurance went from $8.55 to $12.52 and the cost of retirement benefits went from $5.50 to $7.29, all per $100 of workers’ wages, according to the chart in the article.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), and the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA).  We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.