Washington State House Democrats


Health care reform is here. Here’s what you need to know.

You’ve probably been hearing and reading a lot about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are a lot of new changes to health care plans and you probably have a lot of questions. It can seem overwhelming at times, so I hope this update can help clear up some of the confusion.

In Washington state, we’ve chosen to go all-in on the ACA (sometimes called Obamacare) – and Washington families are already benefitting from this decision! So far:
•    Sick kids can’t be denied health insurance.
•    Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
•    Full coverage of FDA-approved birth control is provided at no cost to women.
•    No out-of-pocket costs are charged for preventative services.
Our state’s health insurance exchange is up and running. The Exchange, called the Washington Healthplanfinder, is an online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage.

Healthplanfinder also has a toll-free Customer Support Center up and running. Individuals can get their questions answered about how it works, what types of health coverage will be offered, how to access financial help and what you need to know about the enrollment process that started Oct. 1. Representatives will be on the line weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can reach them by dialing 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633) or by
emailing customersupport@wahbexchange.org. Help will be available in up to 175 languages.

How is Washington Healthplanfinder different from web sites that sell insurance now?

Washington Healthplanfinder is redefining people’s experience with health care. Unlike other web sites that sell one company’s specific health insurance plan, Healthplanfinder is a central location where multiple health insurance companies compete for your

Depending on how much you earn, you can get access to financial help that lowers the cost of your premiums and co-pays. The Healthplanfinder allows you to make side-by-side comparisons of multiple health insurance plans, so you can choose the right plan based on cost, coverage, convenience or any number of factors.

The new marketplace also gets rid of the fine print and makes it easier to understand what a plan covers and how much it costs. Every plan offered through the Healthplanfinder is state-certified, so you can rest assured that you are buying a quality plan from a reliable company.

Get more detailed information and questions answered by clicking here. ________________________________________

We’ve accepted the federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

One of the most important components of the Affordable Care Act is the expansion of the Medicaid program. This means:

•    An additional 385,000 working Washingtonians will be covered by 2020.
•    We will provide health care in the most effective and least expensive setting – saving us all money in the long run.
•    The decision to expand Medicaid saved us $200 million over the next two years alone.
For the first time, adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for enrollment. For a single person, that’s an annual income of $15,864. The household income for children and pregnant women is significantly higher.

To learn more, click here.

It will also be much easier to enroll in the Medicaid program through Washington Healthplanfinder. Healthplanfinder will use a much more efficient eligibility system. What used to take 45 days should now take about 45 minutes. Applicants can also apply by phone, in person, or by mail. Here is an interactive map to help you find the in-person assistor closest to you.

If you have additional questions about health care reform, Washington Healthplanfinder or Medicaid Expansion, don’t hesitate to email me at cyrus.habib@leg.wa.gov

If you still have questions about health plans and want to talk to someone in person about which plan is right for you, residents of East King County can get help enrolling at a free event:

Saturday, Oct. 19
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Crossroads Mall
15600 NE 8th Street
Bellevue 98008

You will be able to get answers to your questions, find out if you are eligible for financial help, and enroll in a plan that’s right for you. Assistance will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Somali. In order to enroll, you will need to know your birth date, social security number and income. Legal immigrants will need to supply a passport, alien or other immigration numbers.

All health plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder include basic benefits like doctor visits, emergency care, prescriptions, maternity care, and preventive care like cancer screenings and vaccinations. Free or low-cost coverage is available. No one will be denied coverage because they are sick or because they have a pre-existing condition. Enrollment begins on Oct. 1, 2013 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2014.

Learn more and find other enrollment events at www.kingcounty.gov/coverage.

Visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org to enroll online.

Thank you for taking the time to read my update. I hope this answered some of your questions and encouraged you to check out the resources available to you.
If you would like more information on this subject, please feel free to email me at cyrus.habib@leg.wa.gov. I have information specific to the area of the 48th that you live in.

Please forward this email to anyone you think could benefit from this important information.

Stay tuned for more legislative updates.