Friday, December 12, 2014

What is Washington Healthplanfinder, and why do I need it? – By Heidi McAtee, AINS

Washington Healthplanfinder is a new way to find health insurance.  It’s a customer-friendly, online marketplace where individuals and families can find, compare and enroll in a health plan that fits their needs and budget.  It provides:

·       Side-by-side comparisons of brand new health plans
·       Financial help to pay for copays and monthly premiums
·       A link to expert customer support online, by phone, or in person through local organizations or insurance brokers.

As you may have heard now is the time to start thinking about your 2015 Insurance plans.  Open enrollment started November 15th for plans starting January 1st through March 1st 2015.  Any enrollment after these dates will need to be preceded by a qualifying event.  What justifies a qualifying event?

·       Getting married
·       Giving birth, adopting or placement of a child
·       Permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options
·       Losing other health coverage (for example, due to a job loss, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage or a health plan being decertified)
·       Becoming a US Citizen
·       Getting out of jail

While the Healthplanfinder website is a great tool for comparing coverage, it isn’t your only option.  If you do not qualify for a tax credit (, you do not need to purchase your plan through the website, in fact we’d almost discourage it.  The website has its benefits of comparing coverages, paying your bill online, and easily shopping from year to year.  However, so does dealing with a broker outside of the exchange.  Most companies have an online system that allows you to review your coverage, see where you are with regards to reaching your deductible, make payments and request explanation of benefits letters.  Dealing direct with a broker will also help you keep track from year to year what plan you are on, what options you have going forward. 

In addition to the purchase of health care being a law, it is important to know that you could be fined for not buying a qualified plan.  Starting in 2014, if individuals do not have health insurance, they will have to pay a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is greater.  The fine for individuals will gradually increase to $695 or 2.5 percent of the individuals income, whichever is greater, by 2016.  For families the penalty will be $285 or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater, in 2014 with the penalty increasing gradually to $2085 or 2.5 percent of their household income, whichever is greater, in 2016.

For more answers to your questions regarding your health insurance options, please call us a 425-740-5200 or visit it is a great resource for coverage basics, how to enroll, where to enroll, and who to talk with about your potential tax credit options.

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