What is the Exchange?

A health benefit exchange is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that creates a new marketplace for each state to offer health insurance coverage to individuals, families and small businesses. Exchanges can be developed and implemented by the state or by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington State chose to implement a state-based exchange.

About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange was created in state statute in 2011 as a public-private partnership. The Exchange is responsible for the operation of Washington Healthplanfinder, an easily accessible, online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to find, compare and enroll in Qualified Health Plans and Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Washington Healthplanfinder offers Washington state residents:

  • Side-by-side comparisons of Qualified Health Plans
  • Tax credits or financial help to pay for co-pays and premiums
  • Expert customer support online, by phone or in-person through a local organization or insurance broker

The Exchange complies with open public meetings and public disclosure guidelines but is not subject to other laws that govern state agencies. The Exchange initially started in the Washington State Health Care Authority and has transitioned to an independent organization. We work in close coordination with our state agency partners, including the Health Care Authority, Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Social and Health Services.