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The Affordable Health Care Act: Home

Washington State Health Care

There is a new way to get health insurance in Washington. People can no longer be denied  health coverage because of an illness or pre-existing condition.Beginning October 1, Individuals and families will be able to choose a health insurance plan. Young adults can stay on their parent's insurance.

More people than ever will qualify for free/low-cost healthcare, or for financial help to pay for health insurance.

Washington Healthplan Finder began enrolling consumers on October 1, 2013  and will continue through March 31, 2014.

Health coverage begins on January 1, 2014

Washington Healthplanfinder 101 materials can be downloaded from this outreach toolkit


SIGNED INTO LAW: The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.  Intended to improve the health care delivery system by controlling health care costs and expanding coverage, the new law represents a comprehensive reform of medical care nationwide.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms health insurance for citizens of the United States. Access and affordability will improve for many who have already have some insurance, and 32 million people who were previously uninsured will have health care for the first time.

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Audio: "Obamacare" not popular in every state

What is a health insurance Exchange?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires states to create Exchanges, a competitive marketplace for individuals to purchase insurance. Exchanges, which must be operating in states by January 1, 2014, will be the main way that people gain coverage in the ACA.

Exchanges can provide individuals with a "one stop shop" to compare and buy health insurance. They are designed to provide consumers with more control and greater transparency in making their choices about health insurance. People can also enroll in public programs through Exchanges. Exchanges use the power of a large insurance pool to generate competition among insurers, with the result being better quality plans at a lower cost.

 The ACA delegates primary responsibility for governing and operating the Exchanges to the states, with the federal government setting minimum standards.

Do college students need coverage?

The new insurance reform:

Covers certain preventive services without deductibles or cost-sharing
Allows parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their insurance
Covers all children under the age of 19, regardless of health status
Creates an appeals process to handle consumer complaints and denials
Eliminates lifetime limits on benefits and significantly raise the annual limits for benefits (eventually it will also eliminate annual limits)
Spends a minimum of 80 percent of premiums on medical services and quality improvement
Eliminates the practice of rescissions (when a health plan retroactively cancels coverage after the enrollee gets sick)
Allows patients to choose their health care professional as a primary care provider

(Information from

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