For Immediate Release: October 18, 2019

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Solicits Public Comment on Proposed Development of Cascade Care Standard Plans

Washington will be the eighth state to offer standard plans to consumers beginning in January 2021. OLYMPIA, Wash.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today opened a 30-day public comment period on the proposed development of standard health insurance plans implementing Senate Bill 5526 (Cascade Care) in partnership with the Health Care Authority and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Cascade Care created new coverage options –standard plans and public option plans –that will be available through Washington Healthplanfinder during open enrollment on November 1, 2020 for coverage effective January 1, 2021.

The proposed standard plans, which are qualified health plans that have a standard benefit design across health insurance carriers, will be easier to understand, more affordable, and offer more value for Washington Healthplanfinder customers.

“We are excited to hear from the public on the work completed so far,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “This proposed design offers consistency across carriers that will allow consumers to more readily compare their options based on price, provider access, quality, and customer service.  The Exchange has worked with a wide variety of implementing partners in developing the standard plans since the bill was passed– including health care carriers, Standard Plan Stakeholder Workgroup, and actuaries from Wakely Consulting Group.”

Comments on the proposed development of standard plans should be submitted by November 18, 2019 at https://www.wahbexchange.org/about-the-exchange/cascade-care-2021-implementation/cascade-care-standard-plan-public-comment/. 

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. The current open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on November 1 ends on December 15.

During this time the Exchange call center based in Spokane Valley will be open normal operating hours for from 7:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Additionally, extended hours scheduled include:

  • November:
    • Open on November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and November 29 (the day after Thanksgiving)
  • December:
    • December 1 – 10: 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    • December 11 – 14 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    • December 15 (Sunday) from 7:30 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
    • December 16 – 30 from 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    • Open on two Saturdays in December – the 7th and 14th (hours TBD)

During open enrollment last year, over 370,000  customers  accessed Washington Healthplanfinder submitting more than 445,000 applications.

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.