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More Information About Washington’s Pending Health Insurance Exchange

More information released about WA Healthcare Exchange
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

While the full effect of Obamacare in Washington state will probably not be seen for some time, we are learning more about the health insurance exchange set to open in October.

According to the state Health Care Authority:

The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will provide coverage for adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual or $26,951 for a family of three), said Dorothy Teeter, director of the Health Care Authority.

 “We anticipate adding more than 300,000 new clients to the 1.2 million current Medicaid caseload in the first years of health care reform,” Teeter said.

Adding those clients to the Medicaid program begs the question, who is going to pay for those medical services specifically? The answers given from those running the program are that the savings realized through the medical programs offered as well as cost-cutting measures will enable the state to do this. Families will be added to Medicaid.

Officials with the Health Care Exchange confirmed to Newstalk 870 that this exchange will not just be confined to low-income or people who do not have insurance. The exchange will reportedly allow those with coverage to examine other programs to see if they are more cost-effective for them or their family. No mention has yet to be made by the Health Care Authority or other state officials about the QUALITY of the plans being offered. While state health officials use the word quality in their press releases, actual comparisons between programs have not been made available, and probably not until the exchange opens in October.

Another interesting comment came Tuesday from Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler:

Making sure all of the health plans include the new reforms and that they’re ready to enroll individuals and families, starting Oct. 1, has been a daunting task,All health plans and their rates must be approved by July 31. After that, our focus shifts to educating the hundreds of thousands of people who stand to benefit from reform. Our efforts today will lay the groundwork for the weeks to come.” 

The success of Obamacare is dependent on having nearly everyone enrolled. The program will not work if millions of Americans don’t buy into the plan. How will that be any different on a state level?

However, we have seen in small bits and pieces, changes and tweaks made to the healthcare system that have in some cases, forced people off their current plans, or simply made them go away. The exchange may be a great avenue for those without insurance and those who want to comparison shop.

If you listen to the glowing statements offered by Gov. Inslee and others about the plan, you’d think it’s going to cure any and all issues with the medical insurance industry. As my father once said, and perhaps yours too, be wary of that which looks “too good to be true, because it probably is.”

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