Cascade Care Savings

During the 2021 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5377, directing the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) to establish a state premium assistance program, now named Cascade Care Savings. In the 2021 State Operating Budget, funding was provided to extend premium assistance to Washington residents earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level beginning in 2023. Cascade Care Savings aims to increase access to coverage on the Exchange by making health plan premiums as affordable as possible. 

Cascade Care Savings materials

Plan year 2024

Plan year 2023

Program Overview

Cascade Care Savings is a new state-funded premium subsidy program that will lower monthly premium payments for eligible customers starting in 2023. These savings are available exclusively through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Cascade Care Savings is part of the broader Cascade Care program, the Exchange’s primary affordability initiative. The Cascade Care program has been developed at the direction of the Washington Legislature over the past several years. 

The final Cascade Care Savings per member per month (PMPM) amount was finalized in October 2022.

For 2023, based on the Legislative appropriation of $50 million, Cascade Care Savings is up to $155 PMPM. Cascade Care Savings wraps around any available federal premium tax credits.

Cascade Care Savings is available to qualifying Exchange customers who:

  • Are not eligible for minimum essential coverage through Medicaid or Medicare;
  • Have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level — check out the Exchange’s FPL calculator; and
  • Enroll in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold qualified health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder.
    • These plans cover more health care services at lower costs and before the deductible, making it easier to access and afford care like regular check-ups and preventive care.
    • American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals may enroll in any plan that allows them to take advantage of their $0 cost-sharing reduction benefit.

The Cascade Care Savings program helps both customers who are receiving federal tax credits and those who are not. Customers must apply for and take all federal premium tax credits they are eligible for before they can qualify for any state subsidies. 

Customers can sign up for Cascade Care Savings through Washington Healthplanfinder, or by calling the Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633. Eligibility is determined by Washington Healthplanfinder. The new savings will be applied when a customer’s 2023 coverage begins.

  • Customers who are already enrolled in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan will have the new savings automatically applied to their coverage when it is renewed for 2023.
  • Customers not already in enrolled in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold will need to newly sign up for, or switch to, a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan during open-enrollment (Nov. 1 – Jan. 15) or outside open-enrollment using the Cascade Care Savings special enrollment period (SEP). The SEP is automatically opened when customers not already in enrolled in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan are determined eligible for the Cascade Care Savings program. 

For eligible customers, their Cascade Care Savings amount will be displayed on screen and included in customer notifications, similar to federal premium tax credits, beginning Nov. 1, 2022.

Program Implementation

A customer is not eligible to receive Cascade Care Savings if they have other minimum essential coverage — such as coverage through Washington Apple Health/Medicaid or Medicare. Or if the customer is already receiving fully subsidized state coverage through the Compact of Free Association (COFA) Islander Premium Assistance Program and Health Care Premium Assistance for Employees of Child Care Facilities.

Yes. All insurance carriers who offer plans through Washington Healthplanfinder offer Cascade Care Silver and Gold plans. Cascade Care plans consist of Cascade and Cascade Select (public option) plans. Cascade Care plans have “Cascade” in the plan name and the Cascade Care logo displayed next to them in Washington Healthplanfinder.

To qualify for Cascade Care Savings, a customer must buy a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan through Washington Healthplanfinder

This new SEP allows customers who qualify for Cascade Care Savings — who are not already enrolled in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan — to sign up for a Cascade Care Silver or Gold Plan outside of open-enrollment, so they can benefit from Cascade Care Savings. For customers who qualify, this special enrollment period will automatically open.

  • Note: If existing customers use this SEP to switch to a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan during the plan year, all amounts they have already spent toward out-of-pocket limits will carry over if they stay with their current insurance carrier. 

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, current enhanced federal premium tax credits are extended through 2025. The Cascade Care Savings program builds on existing federal subsidies to maximize available state resources. Customers need to use the full amount of their approved federal tax credits to be eligible for Cascade Care Savings.

The extended federal subsidies, in combination with Cascade Care Savings, will create an unprecedented opportunity for uninsured, low-income Washington residents get covered, especially individuals and families working in lower-wage jobs. 

No. Unlike premium tax credits, Cascade Care Savings is state-funded and does not need federal tax filing reconciliation. Customers may be asked to submit documents to verify income or other coverage eligibility requirements prior to receiving Cascade Care Savings.

If you are interested in following Cascade Care implementation, please subscribe to receive emails with information about updates, upcoming meetings, stakeholder input opportunities, and other relevant announcements.

Any remaining questions about Cascade Care and/or Cascade Care Savings can be emailed to [email protected].