Washington State

Washington State

 Now that I've developed a standardized format/layout & methodology for tracking both state- and county-level COVID vaccination levels by partisan lean (which can also be easily applied to other variables like education level, median income, population density, ethnicity, etc), I've started moving beyond my home state of Michigan.

Here's Washington State:

NOTE: The CDC lists ~142,000 Washington State residents (4.2% of the total fully vaccinated) whose county of residence is unknown.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

This just in from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange...

Pam MacEwan, CEO Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), issued the following statement today after the signing of Cascade Care 2.0 into state law:

“Today’s signing of the Cascade Care 2.0 bill sets the stage to improve the quality, availability, and affordability of the health plans offered through Washington Healthplanfinder. 

“This bill establishes a state premium assistance program that will benefit over 100,000 low-income Washingtonians struggling to pay for health insurance; increases statewide availability of the state’s first-in-nation public option program; and builds on the success of the high-quality Cascade Care standard plans – that have created average savings of $1,000 in out-of-pocket costs. 

Washington HealthPlan Finder

This just in from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange...

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Opens the Doors for Washingtonians to Benefit from Lower Health Care Premiums and Save Money Through the American Rescue Plan

  • More Than $250 Million in Tax Credits Available to Help Washingtonians Lower Health Insurance Costs

Health coverage purchased on Washington Healthplanfinder became much more affordable today as the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) rolled out new savings to help Washingtonians with the cost of their individual health insurance.

Washington PlanFinder

Two months ago, I noted that the Washington state legislature had decided to beef up their quasi-Public Option law to make the PO plans (called "Cascade Select") more robust and less expensive:

Let's step back a moment: There's actually up to three types of policies being offered depending on the carrier:

  • Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)...these are the normal policies which comply with ACA regulations offered by most carriers.
  • Cascade (Standard)...these are QHPs which also follow another state law passed last year (see below), and
  • Cascade (Select)...these are Standardized QHPs which are also public option plans.

Here's the distinction between Cascade "standard" and Cascade "select":

Breaking via the Washington Healthplanfinder:

Washington Healthplanfinder is extending special enrollment period for Washingtonians seeking health coverage through August 15, 2021

  • More Savings Coming to Washington Healthplanfinder Customers

Due to recent federal action bringing new savings opportunities to current and new individual health insurance market customers, Washington Healthplanfinder is extending the current special enrollment period from May 15 through August 15. This aligns with the recent federal announcement extending the special enrollment period for those using the federal marketplace. This special enrollment period allows currently uninsured individuals, and people both on and off the Exchange, the opportunity to benefit from these new savings.

This is from a couple of weeks ago; I'm reposting it standalone for clarity. Via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Issues Statement on the Signing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Pam MacEwan, CEO Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), issued the following statement today following the signing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021:

“The new stimulus plan is great news for both our current Exchange customers as well as the uninsured who have not been able to afford health insurance. Enhanced premium assistance will help people afford and keep health coverage during the current pandemic.

“Our enduring goal is to ensure that every Washingtonian can get affordable health insurance coverage for themselves and their family. Today’s landmark legislation takes the necessary steps to help those who face high insurance costs that have prevented them getting health coverage for 2021 and 2022.

Aside from Health Sherpa's announcement the other day that they enrolled over 3x as many people in ACA exchange plans in the first week of the COVID Special Enrollment Period than they normally would via traditional SEPs during the same time period, there's been no hard COVID SEP data released...until now. Via the Washington HealthPlan Finder:

Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage Now Available

  • Currently uninsured or those seeking new coverage can enroll today on Washington HealthplanfinderOLYMPIA, Wash.

Washington Healthplanfinder is now offering a special enrollment period for Washingtonians who are currently uninsured or seeking new coverage. This special enrollment period, in response to the current public health emergency, opened Feb. 15 and runs for 90 days, ending May 15, 2021.

A couple of weeks ago I reported that the Washington Healthplan Finder was the one of the first state-based ACA exchanges to announce their own COVID19 Special Enrollment Period to coincide with the federal one being launched via HealthCare.Gov.

At the time, I wrote:

Washington State's appears to be for anyone who'd otherwise be eligible during Open Enrollment, which amounts to the same thing as full Open Enrollment. That means even those who are already enrolled in an ACA exchange plan will be able to switch to a different plan mid-year.

Well, so much for that; the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has issued a new press release ahead of the February 15th COVID SEP launch clarifying who's eligible and who isn't:

New Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage Opens February 15

Just over a month ago, I noticed that the Washington Healthplanfinder was touting the fairly impressive launch of their new "Cascade Care" healthcare plans overall (40% of new enrollees were choosing them!)...but that completely missing from all the praise was any breakout of how many were selecting the Public Option version of "Cascade Care"...likely for a very good reason:

Let's step back a moment: There's actually up to three types of policies being offered depending on the carrier:

  • Qualified Health Plans (QHPs)...these are the normal policies which comply with ACA regulations offered by most carriers.
  • Cascade (Standard)...these are QHPs which also follow another state law passed last year (see below), and
  • Cascade (Select)...these are Standardized QHPs which are also public option plans.

Here's the distinction between Cascade "standard" and Cascade "select":

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