Tax formula may change state residents’ health insurance costs

  • By Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press
  • Friday, November 7, 2014 12:32pm
  • Local NewsNorthwest

SEATTLE — Those who signed up for insurance during the first year of health care reform may think they can avoid open enrollment this fall, but that may not be the best choice because of a tax credit formula in the federal law.

Since federal subsidies are based on a formula that reflects the cost of certain insurance plans, and those costs have actually gone down for 2015, some people will see the amount the federal government contributes toward their insurance go down as well.

But not all insurance premiums are going down, so this decrease in federal subsidies will effectively raise insurance costs for about 22,000 people in 27 counties in Washington state, according to Michael Marchand, spokesman for Washington Healthplanfinder.

The exchange is sending out letters to everyone who signed up for insurance last year, telling them what their costs will be if they keep their current plan. It’s up to them if they want to revisit the exchange during the open enrollment period, Nov. 15 through Feb. 15.

Marchand encourages people to carefully read those letters and then to go online to shop around and see if they can get a better deal by buying one of the new plans available to Washington residents for 2015.

“That calculation is in the law. It’s not really anything we could have changed” Marchand said.

The change in subsidies is actually good news, he argued. It means the exchange is reducing premium costs because of increased competition, he said.

“The Affordable Care Act is doing what it is supposed to do,” Marchand said.

Seventy-five percent of 164,000 Washington residents who bought private insurance through the exchange during the last open enrollment period received some kind of tax credit.

People whose income has changed and families with new babies should also revisit the exchange to see if those changes have affected their insurance costs and subsidies.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Son arrested for hitting father on head at Marysville home

The father grabbed a metal rod and struck his son in the head, too. Both needed medical treatment.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Most Read