OLYMPIA, Wash. — The State of Washington has introduced the Washington Health Program to help the 1.5 million state residents who have not been able to obtain affordable quality health insurance. This is a non-subsidized version of the state’s subsidized Basic Health program. Both the Washington Health and Basic Health programs are administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).
Stop Gap Until the Federal Health Reform Starts
Governor Chris Gregoire is quoted on the HCA Website, “Health care reform is on the way, and it will provide greater health care access to millions of Americans,” said Washington Governor Chris Gregoire. “But thousands of Washington residents can’t wait for 2014. They need coverage now – and Washington Health provides them with an affordable option.”
The subsidized Basic Health program covers 66,000 Washington residents, with another 100,000 on the waiting list. To help them, and the 1.5 million who do not qualify as low income and cannot find affordable health coverage, Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) has contracted with Community Health Plan (CHP) to provide this new non-subsidized program.
HCA Administrator Doug Porter explains in a press release, “Washington Health’s low premiums are due to low administrative costs and caps on annual costs. Washington Health members have the option of choosing $75,000 or $100,000 in health care coverage per year. This is lower than payout maximums in other plans, but in most cases, $75,000 is plenty of coverage throughout the year.” By comparison, less than 2% of Basic Health enrollees accumulated $75,000 total cost in 2009.
Premiums are based on: the age of the primary insured, the age of each family member applying for coverage, the choice of annual benefit ($75,000 or $100,000), and county of residence. An Initial question is also asked about current use of tobacco.
To get an estimate of premiums, go here.
Washington Health Program is available to anyone who lives in Washington and:
1. Is not eligible for free or purchased Medicare.
2. Is not confined to an institution at the time of enrollment.
3. Is ineligible for coverage under the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP) or qualifies to bypass the standard health questionnaire under state law.
4. Is not receiving Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) medical assistance (Medicare) or subsidized Basic Health benefit.
Look Into the Program
For the 1.5 million Washington State residents seeking affordable health insurance, the Washington State Health Program is a viable choice. It’s well worth the time to explore the possibilities.
Interested Washington State residents may go here for online information and to start the application process. They also may (1) download the materials and mail or fax them directly to Washington Health Program; or (2) request an application package online or by telephone. To talk to a live person, call 1-800-660-9840 (TTY/TTD: 1-888-923-5622).
Washington State Health Program: Website
Community Health Plan: Website
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