Washington Health Benefit Exchange interim CEO Jim Crawford issued the following statement regarding today’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a three-year extension of the enhanced federal premium subsidies currently available to Washingtonians who purchase their health coverage on Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. These additional subsidies were first adopted under the American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) of 2021.
“We are incredibly pleased that Washington Healthplanfinder customers will continue to benefit from enhanced federal subsidies through the end of 2025. These subsidies have been a major driver in reducing premium payments for those purchasing health insurance and provide needed relief to those buying and renewing coverage in November for the 2023 plan year, who would have otherwise faced steep premium increases.
“Washington Healthplanfinder enrollment is at an all-time high due in large part to these enhanced affordability efforts. Since their introduction in 2021, more than 60,000 individuals newly gained coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder and today over 75 percent of the entire market is tax credit eligible — up from 62 percent. More than 100,000 customers currently pay less than $100 dollars a month for their health insurance.
“These extended federal subsidies, in combination with Cascade Care Savings – the new state premium subsidy program – will create an unprecedented opportunity for uninsured, low-income Washington residents get covered, especially individuals and families working in lower-wage jobs. This program builds on the existing federal subsidies to maximize available state resources and the Exchange will be working with all its partners to spread the word on this new program.
“Moving forward, we recognize there is more to do on the affordability of health insurance in our state. And while we are glad for the continuation of ARPA subsidies and introduction the Cascade Care Savings program to customers this open enrollment, we are also looking forward to continued conversations on reducing systemic costs in health care that lead to the price increases reflected in health insurance premiums.”
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 next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins Nov. 1, 2023. Enrollment reports and data are available from the 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: www.hca.wa.gov.