For Immediate Release: October 5, 2023

Affordable Cascade Care Health Plans Are Keeping People Covered During the Medicaid Unwind


Today, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) released a Data Snapshot Report, which shows the availability of affordable, Cascade Care plans are proving critical to keeping people covered and advancing equity during the Medicaid unwind.

Now that COVID-era protections have expired, Washington, like all states, has resumed regular annual eligibility checks for people covered by our state Medicaid program, Washington Apple Health. For the past year, the Exchange has joined partners across our state, led by the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA), to ensure Apple Health customers watch out for and respond to renewal notices.

Since April 2023, when the renewal process began, nearly half of the more than 2 million Apple Health customers have had their eligibility redetermined and 42% of those had their coverage end. The Exchange is monitoring how many customers who lose Apple Health regain coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the integrated web platform operated by the Exchange.

With the state mid-way through this process, data released by the Exchange indicate success in supporting 83,000 customers to return to Apple Health after their coverage ended. Additionally, the data illustrates a historically high uptake of private, qualified health plans (QHPs), such as Cascade Care Plans, among former Apple Health customers.

“Clients who are above income for Apple Health are staying covered by transitioning to Cascade Care plans for $10 or less per month,” Exchange CEO Ingrid Ulrey said. “Transitions to qualified health plans from Apple Health are nearly 60% higher than pre-pandemic. Thanks to robust community outreach, enhanced federal subsidies, state innovation with Cascade Care and our integrated web platform, many people have been able to easily make the pivot and stay covered.”

The report released by the Exchange provides an illustrative example of a 32-year-old Spokane Valley resident, now earning more than $31,000 per year, who loses Apple Health because they are above income eligibility. The individual is able to regain coverage through a Cascade Care plan for just $4 per month — affordability made possible by federal subsidies and state-funded Cascade Care Savings.

The data snapshot released by the Exchange, covers analysis of individuals who lost Apple Health coverage from April 1–Aug. 31, 2023.

Key Findings:

  • Eighty-eight thousand residents leaving Apple Health are eligible for health insurance and premium savings through Washington Healthplanfinder. Washington residents have the benefit of using only one, integrated system to either buy a QHP or enroll in Apple Health.
  • The percentage of eligible customers selecting a QHP after their Apple Health ended increased dramatically at 27%, up from 17% pre-pandemic.
  • There is an historically high uptake of QHPs; 24,000 residents selected QHP — a doubling of pre-pandemic selections, thanks to coordinated and repeated outreach from the Exchange, HCA, carriers and partners.
  • We are making equity gains, with higher uptake among customers who are younger, Hispanic, and non-white, compared to existing QHP customers.
  • Customers are using Washington Healthplanfinder to shop and enroll in high-value plans, with 75% of former Apple Health customers switching from their former managed care organization and selecting a QHP from the three carriers with the lowest average premiums.
  • Cascade Care and federal subsidies are helping 87% of former Apple Health customers afford high-quality plans. A majority, 61%, of customers receiving Cascade Care Savings pay $25 or less on their monthly premiums. 

Cascade Care plans represent more than 60% of Exchange’s enrollment and the fastest growing enrollment year over year. Enrolling in a Cascade Care Silver or Gold plan may qualify customers for Cascade Care Savings. These savings are available for individuals and families earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) — an annual income of $33,975 for a one-person household and $57,575 for a three-person household.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15. Customers can enroll in a 2024 health plan by visiting, or by calling the Customer Support Center at 1-855-923-4633, between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15.


Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice of 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.


About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. Open enrollment for Washington Healthplanfinder is from Nov. 1, 2023, to Jan. 15, 2024. Enrollment reports and data are available from Washington Health Benefit Exchange.


About Washington Apple Health

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority,