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State Health Exchange Set to Open Oct. 1 — No Insurance? Get Ready for Big Fines

washington insurance exchange
(Washington Insurance Exchange website)

Following Friday’s “Coverage is Here” summit held in Seattle, Gov. Inslee plans to make remarks today about the state exchange set to begin business Oct. 1 in compliance with Obamacare.

The summit, attended by several hundred representatives of the health care industry and others who were only described as “stakeholders,” was a meeting to inform companies and other attendees about what residents will find at the exchange.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange website bills itself as:

 

“Washington Healthplanfinder is the official ACA-compliant health benefit exchange for the State of Washington.”

Some of the wording on the website is rather interesting (some sentences bolded for emphasis):

About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) with the goal to redefine people’s experience with health care through the creation of a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board appointed by Gov. Gregoire in December 2011.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder will be a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing, and public programs such as Medicaid.Washington Healthplanfinder will begin enrolling consumers on October 1, 2013, for health insurance coverage beginning on January 1, 2014.

The website also contains this interesting message:

Starting in 2014, if individuals do not have health insurance, they will have to pay a fine of $95, which increases to $325 in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of household income in 2016. For families, the penalty will be $2,085 or up to 2.5 percent of household income.”

 

A thorough check of the website did not list any details about which insurance companies are participating, or what specific plans they are offering. According to the site, the telephone information center will become operational in September.  We would hope more details are out by then.

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