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Washington Health Benefit Exchange and Expanded Medicaid (Apple Health)
As healthcare reform takes effect, it will significantly improve people’s ability to get health insurance. In fact, more than 180,000 uninsured or underinsured residents in King County alone will become newly eligible for expanded Medicaid (called Apple Health) or some type of subsidized health insurance.
To help people sign up for these options, Washington State has launched the Health Benefit Exchange website (wahealthplanfinder.org).
Using the Health Benefit Exchange website, you can find out if you qualify for Washington State’s new Medicaid program (Apple Health), which now includes adults.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid, the Health Benefit Exchange also provides the opportunity to review insurance options, compare prices and select a plan. There is a premium, or cost, associated with Health Benefit Exchange plans, but depending on your annual income, you may be eligible for a subsidy in the form of a tax credit.
Those with Medicare will continue to be insured under that program and will not need to apply through the Health Benefit Exchange.
The Health Benefit Exchange is enrolling consumers starting Oct. 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage that starts on Jan. 1, 2014. The first open enrollment period will end March 31, 2014. All qualified insurance plans offered through the Health Benefit Exchange provide:
A cost-estimate calculator is available at wahealthplanfinder.org to help estimate what your health insurance premiums may cost and the tax credits for which you may be eligible. It’s important to note that if you do not sign up for health insurance, the IRS will begin imposing fines in 2014.
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services
- Chronic disease management
- Pediatric services (including pediatric dental and vision care)
How to Enroll
- Online: Visit wahealthplanfinder.org
- By Phone: Call 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633) or TTY/TTD 1-855-627-9604 (available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. PST, seven days a week).
- In-Person: In-person advice, assistance and enrollment will be offered at many locations throughout the greater Seattle and Puget Sound area, including hospitals, libraries, and other community organizations.
- At UW Medicine: UW Medicine hospitals, including Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, UW Medical Center and Valley Medical Center will have staff available on-site to help you enroll.