Those who have health insurance may not be affected by the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare. But for those who need health insurance and aren’t covered by an employer’s health insurance, long-awaited coverage is on the way.
Washington state residents seeking health insurance will be able to shop for health care through the state’s new insurance exchange, called Healthplanfinder. Open enrollment plans will begin Oct. 1, with coverage beginning Jan. 1.
The Healthplanfinder (wahealthplanfinder.org.) is designed to help people compare coverage plans and select the appropriate one.
People with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (a family of four with an income of $94,200, for instance) will qualify for the program. Many people will qualify for premium tax credits to help pay for the insurance premiums.
The tax credits are based on a sliding scale, so those who make lower incomes receive a higher credit. The credit applies immediately when you purchase insurance, so you don’t have to wait until you file your taxes. The credit is designed to make health insurance affordable for most people.
The program is available to people who work part-time and don’t qualify for benefits through their employers or who don’t have health care offered from an employer, as well as those who are self-employed and those who have retired early and don’t yet qualify for Medicare. Individuals and families will be able to choose and compare a number of comprehensive insurance plans. Citizens and immigrants legally present in Washington can participate.