Washington State Healthcare Reform


We all know that Washington State healthcare is changing.

But the big questions is “how” and “when.” A nationwide survey taken last month shows only 12% of all adults feel they understand health reform and its impacts. We wanted to make a educational video that will help all Washington residents better understand the upcoming implementation and how they can prepair. We want to make Washington State Healthcare Reform and Health Care changes as easy to understand as possible. With over 12,000 pages of legislation, it is easy to get lost in the details. Find the facts without the political argument. Please pass this video on to help your friends and family better understand the PPACA or the better known Obamacare. Here are some additional facts to help you with Washington State healthcare reform.

Washington Health Plan Finder


What to know about Obamacare or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Here are some simple facts that will help you decide the best available options.

  • Help with premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will be available through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  • If you qualify for federal financial assistance (subsidies), you can get it only when you buy coverage through the Marketplaces.
  • Assistance will be on a sliding scale, based on income and family size. To see if you qualify for help, you can use a calculator in the Marketplaces during open enrollment.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange or sometimes called “exchange”, is a state-run markets place where you can shop, compare, and buy health care coverage.

  • You can buy coverage through the Marketplace beginning October 2013. The coverage may start no sooner than January 1, 2014.
  • You can choose a plan based on price, benefits, quality, and other features that are important to you.

Levels of Coverage are decided by you.

  • The Washington Health Beanefit Exchange will have several different levels of coverage offered by insurers. You can choose among the plans according to your personal situation and needs.
  • All plans will offer the same essential health benefits (such as doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, and maternity care), and include certain preventive services at no cost.
  • All plans in the Marketplaces will be grouped into four levels of coverage — Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum — referred to as Metal plans. These categories were set up by the federal government to make it easier for people to compare plans offered by different insurance companies. Bronze plans, for example, generally would offer lower premiums but higher copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles than plans in the other levels. Platinum plans, on the other hand, would generally have higher premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, coinsurance, and copays.
  • If you qualify, you will have the additional option of a high-deductible plan with low premiums.



Health Care Reform Updates

Washington State Affordable Care Act

2012 was a big year for the Affordable Care Act in Washington State.

While relatively few new provisions of the law were implemented, the ACA’s immediate future was secured by the Supreme Court and November’s presidential election. In late June, the country’s highest court ruled that the landmark legislation was indeed constitutional – and President Barack Obama’s re-election meant that the health reform law he championed wasn’t going anywhere. Washington State Health Care Reform is quickly moving and will be running full steam starting Jan 1st, 2014.

2014 is when the country will really begin to see the essence of the ACA: Washington affordable health insurance exchange known as Washington Health Plan Finder will have to be up and running, and the national Medicaid program will expand its coverage to millions of low-income Americans. In 2013, it’s going to be crucial for employers and health providers to adequately prepare themselves for the drastic changes their practices and the industry as a whole will see. A major challenge will be finding a way to have enough health providers who can be the supply to the increased demand that those two new provisions will bring. For employers, how the increased cost is going to affect their bottom line. Make no mistake, the cost of insurance WILL go up in 2013. 

Washington State Health Insurance Increase

On top of that preparation, here are the  major provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will go live in 2013 for Washington State:

1. Employers notice requirements.

In anticipation of open enrollment starting October 1, 2013 for the Washington Health Plan Finder, employers must provide each current employee a written notice with information about the health exchange. Information includes a notice that the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit and that the employee may loose employer contributions if they enroll in the new exchange. Moving forward, any new employee must receive a written notice at time of hire. The Department of Labor is expected to release model notices for employers to use to satisfy requirements.

 When: June 1st – This has been delayed due to final approval by the Health Care Authority Board on implementation structure.

When: October 1, 2013

2. Washington Health Plan Finder LIVE

Starting October, open enrollment starts for all Washington State legal residence to enroll in the Health Plan Finder . The Health Plan Finder will be located at http://wahbexchange.org .  The HCA is working tirelessly to get this operational and running before open enrollment periods.  Recent demo’s provided by the Health Care Authority reveals a system that is easy to navigate and informational.

When: October 1st, 2013

3. Improving coverage for preventive health care.

Washington State Medicaid and Medicare programs that opt to provide preventive services for their patients at little or no cost will receive extra funding from the federal government.

When: January 1st, 2014

4. Increasing Medicaid payments for primary care doctors.

Washington will be required to pay primary care doctors no less than 100 percent of Medicaid payment rates in 2013 and 2014 for primary care services, which will comprise a major part of 2014′s swell in demand for medical care. The federal government will fund this increase in compensation, because the more primary care providers there are, the more opportunities there are for people to catch adverse health conditions in the early stages or prevent them outright. That, in turn, cuts costs and improves health in general.

When: January 1st, 2014

5. More funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in Washington State known as Apple Health, covers youngsters who aren’t quite eligible for Medicaid but whose families can’t afford health coverage. This provision means Washington will get two more years of funding for Apple Health programs.

When: January 1st, 2014


Chronic Illness in Washington State

Four Common Causes of Chronic Disease plague Washington State Health Departments.

Lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases in Washington State.

  • More than one-third of all adults do not meet recommendations for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and 23% report no leisure-time physical activity at all in the preceding month.
  • In 2007, less than 22% of high school students and only 24% of adults reported eating 5 or more servings of fits and vegetables per day

Top 6 Washington State Health Problems


The Center for DiseaseControl released some disturbing facts about the state of U.S. Heath in Washington State. Here are a few we think might be important.

  • 1 in 10 Individuals has Diabetes and is expected to increase to 1 in 3 by 2050
  • Only 71% of individuals with Diabetes are diagnosed making 29% unaware of the disease
  • Diabetes and Hypertension is the #1 costliest conditions to employers because of healthcare cost, lost workdays, and lost productivity.
  • Eye Disease cost more to consumers each year than Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer and Brain Cancer combined.
  • Heart Disease is the number one cost to consumers.
  • 70% of Washingtonians die from Chronic Illness from Diabetes, Cancer, or Heart Disease.

Only 1 in 8 Washington residents exercise on a regular basis

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