The Obamacare Washington State exchange is run by the state government. This is because Washington’s government has decided to run their own exchange. The Federal government is subsidizing the Washington State exchange. The Federal government will give you a tax credit if you qualify based on income.
The healthcare marketplace in Washington is responsible for signing up the people who lack healthcare insurance in Washington. The Washington exchange is a place where private health insurance polices–that have met Affordable Care Act regulations–can be purchased.
Washington is one of 15 states that will run their own healthcare marketplace. The Washington exchange is simply a store where you can purchase Obamacare plans.
The Obamacare state exchange for Washington residents can be found at: Washington Healthplan Finder.
How Do I Sign Up For Obamacare In Washington
How do I sign up for Obamacare in Washington?
Sign up for Washington Obamacare by going to Washington Healthplan Finder. You can get healthcare on the Obamacare Washington state exchange 3 ways:
- Washington Healthplan Finder
- by mail
- in person
Calling 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633) you will reach the phone number for Washington Obamacare help. You can also find Local Obamacare help here. Open enrollment begins October 1st of each year.
Obamacare health coverage begins January 1st, 2014. You must apply for healthcare via open enrollment by March 31st. You must have health coverage or pay a penalty due to the Individual Mandate. By applying for coverage, you will find out if you qualify for:
- Subsidized Private Insurance Plan
- Private Insurance Plan (likely cheaper premiums than private offerings)
Do I Need To Sign Up For Obamacare?
To answer the question, “Do I need to sign up for Obamacare?” consider the following:
- If you have insurance through your employer or government, you don’t have to do anything with Obamacare. See how Obamacare affects you here.
- If you don’t have insurance–and you are low income ($15,282 for an individual)–you may qualify for the expansion of Medicaid (see below).
- If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you may qualify for subsidies to buy health insurance when you sign up on the state exchange at Washington Healthplan Finder.
Obamacare Washington State Rates
Obamacare Washington State rates vary by the same factors that exist in most states. In Washington, the rate you pay for health insurance varies by:
- your age
- your income
- where you live in Washington
- if you smoke
- the level of coverage you pick
Federal tax credits will help people with low to mid incomes pay for heath insurance. Obamacare Washington tax credits are the same as in other states. The only difference is how the poverty level is defined in each state.
Washington rates are also determined by insurance companies who divide Washington into regions when setting the rates. Washington State rates are coming in lower than expected. The differences between high and low rates for healthcare insurance in each region include:
- regional differences in medial costs
- relative health and age of the population
- disease/mortality rates of the region
- having to pay for people with preexisting conditions in your area (raises costs)
- increased competition between health insurance plans (lowers costs)
Washington State Premiums
Washington State premiums for insurance are coming in lower than expected. The best way to get lower premiums is to qualify for Medicaid. The next best way is to qualify for Federal subsides by falling into the income ranges below.
Subsidies on Washington premiums are for individuals and families who make between:
- $11,490 to $45,960 for individuals
- $15,510 to $62,040 for a family of 2
- $19,530 to $78,120 for a family of 3
- $23,550 to $94,200 for a family of 4
- $27,570 to $110,280 for a family of 5
- $31,590 to $126,360 for a family of 6
- $35,610 to $142,440 for a family of 7
- $39,630 to $158,520 for a family of 8
Individuals and families that make less than this range may be eligible for the expansion of Medicaid (detailed below). Those that make more than this range are not eligible for Federal subsidies. But, you should still be able to find cheaper plans than in the private sector.
Those that do fall into this range will get Federal subsidies on their health insurance. Obamacare Washington State premiums also depend on the type of plan you choose. See more about Obamacare plans here.
Recent data from a survey from the RAND Corporation on Washington premiums shows that:
For all age groups and plans combined in Washington:
- The Lowest Cost Weighted Average Premium (Bronze) in Washington is $264/month (national average is $249).
- The Lowest Cost Weighted Average Premium (Silver) in Washington is $350/month. (national average is $310).
- The 2nd Lowest Cost Weighted Average Premium (Silver) in Washington is $352/month. (national average is $328).
These premiums are the weighted averages for most people. Results will vary based on a few factors for your personal situation. The bad news about Washington premiums is that they are more expensive than the national average.
The good news about Washington premiums is that Federal subsidies will help lower costs for many people. Individuals making less than $45,960 are eligible for subsides in Washington. Families of four making less than $94,200 should also qualify for subsidies on premiums.
Premiums in Washington are going down because of increased competition. The more insurance companies in Washington, the better. Overall, premiums in Washington are still coming in cheaper than the national average.
Insurance companies used to be able to exclude people with preexisting conditions. Now, they are adding those costs into your premiums. In all states, adding these protections increases the cost of premiums.
Obamacare: Conservative Viewpoints
Here is an Oregon State philosophical debate on Obamacare and Entitlement:
Skip past first 5 mins of this video for the heart surgeon’s conservative viewpoints on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):
Medicaid Expansion In Washington
Medicaid expansion in Washington begins January 1st, 2014. Sign up starts Oct 1st. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire supports the expansion. The Washington State Legislature wrote a bill in favor of the Medicaid expansion. It has been signed into law.
Under Obamacare, people making less than $15,282 (133% of Federal Poverty Line) should qualify for the Medicaid expansion. You have to make between 133% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Line to be eligible for subsidies. Those making less are supposed to get Medicaid.
In some states, Legislatures are not accepting the expansion of Medicaid. In those states: the irony is that the people Obamacare was supposed to help the most, are getting helped the least.
Although all of this may sound complicated, what you have to do is sign up at Washington Healthplan Finder. The Obamacare exchange in Washington will help you see what Obamacare can do for you.