The goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to reduce the cost of health care, in part by getting the uninsured to enroll in a private plan or Medicaid, for which more people now are eligible. Our state’s implementation began Oct. 1 when Washington Healthplanfinder, at www.wahealthplanfinder.org, was launched. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, a public-private enterprise, runs the program and issues periodic reports on enrollment rates.
Being insured is now mandatory, and if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you have until March 31 to sign up for a private plan. Those who qualify for federal assistance can sign up anytime.
The Washington Healthplanfinder website enables uninsured people to compare state-approved private insurance plans and see if they qualify for Medicaid or other assistance. Getting private insurance through the state program is not required. If you are already covered by an employer plan, you need not make a change.
Starting this year, individuals and families who are not insured through some plan will be assessed a penalty at tax time.
Washington health-care exchange enrollment
At www.wahealthplanfinder.org from Oct. 1 through Jan. 31. Definitions:
- Qualified health plan: People enrolled in state-approved private health insurance offered at Washington Healthcare Exchange.
- Medicaid redeterminations: People newly enrolled in Medicaid who had been eligible under old rules.
- Medicaid newly covered: People who have qualified and enrolled in a Medicaid plan under expansion.
|County||Qualified health plan||Medicaid redeterminations||Medicaid newly covered||Total||% of total population|
SOURCE: Washington Health Benefit Exchange
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and new rules:
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