Washington health insurance market set to expand this fall
The health insurance market of Washington is expected to expand this fall as another provision of the Affordable Care Act go live in the state. Washington residents that currently have no health insurance will find that they have become eligible for Medicaid once this provision has been instituted. They will also be able to find health insurance through the state’s own insurance exchange, which is expected to begin enrollment near the end of this year.
Residents may benefit through expansion of Medicaid program
Currently, an estimated 1 million Washington residents lack health insurance coverage. State officials are unsure of the actual number of uninsured peoples within the state that will benefit from the expansion of the Washington Medicaid program or the state’s health insurance exchange. Despite this, officials believe that those that currently lack coverage will have access to the coverage they need. Questions remain concerning how affordable this health insurance coverage will actually be, of course.
Officials expect 325,000 new policyholders to be incorporated into Medicaid
State officials note that more than 75,000 people are eligible for the state’s Medicaid program in its current form, but that these people do not participate in it. When the program is expanded, another 250,000 Washington residents will become eligible. State officials expect some 325,000 new policyholders to be incorporated into the Medicaid program over the next few years.
State insurance exchange likely to be a boon for consumers
The state has opted to build and operate its own health insurance exchange, called the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. The exchange will operate as an online marketplace where consumers can find affordable health insurance policies. The exchange will also offer plans for small businesses and other groups. Federal grants are funding the development of the exchange program. While the program will be primarily accessed online, consumers will be able to access the exchange by fax, mail, telephone, or in person. The exchange will be populated with insurance policies from many of the state’s largest health insurers and every policy will offer a minimum level of benefits no matter what type of policy a person chooses.