By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
The implementation of the new health initiative known as the Affordable Health Care Act is upon us. Signing up to join one of the insurance plans adopted by the state of Washington’s insurance exchange will begin October 1 –but before you make a choice you may have to do some research to find out which plan is right for you.
A toll-free customer support center is now available in 175 languages. Trained representatives are available weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633). Consumers can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, find help on Facebook by searching Facebook for Washington Healthplanfinder, or consumers can visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
As of yet there is no printed material available to receive in the mail. Consumers with questions are directed to their website to learn about the available health care plans. If you do not have Internet access, you will be directed to using the free Internet access available at public libraries.
The enrollment period is long, extending from Oct. 1, to March 31, 2014, which is good because the amount of information to sift through is enormous. Take your time reviewing the information and call the support number to confirm your decision.
As was promised, the Affordable Car Act does include coverage for those who cannot afford to pay for coverage. The Act also outlines what percentage the government will pick up depending on which plan “level” you decide is appropriate for your needs.
“How much you’ll pay for a health plan depends on the plan you choose,” reads a statement on the website. “The difference between the levels is based on how much of the medical costs the health plan picks up and how much you pay through copays and coinsurance.”
|Level||Plan pays||You pay|
|Bronze||60 percent||40 percent|
|Silver||70 percent||30 percent|
|Gold||80 percent||20 percent|
|Platinum||90 percent||10 percent|
Snohomish County is in Region 2 and lists eight provider networks; BridgeSpan Health Company, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care, Group Health Cooperative, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, Molina Healthcare of Washington, Inc. and Premera Blue Cross.
Over the next few weeks we will provide more information on costs and coverages based on three age groups in order to give our readers a basic scope of the available coverage for sample individuals aged 24, 45 and 64. By using this metric we hope to provide insight for some common health concerns; preventative care coverage, chronic health issues and catastrophic health coverage before you reach the age for Medicare benefits.
As the series progresses we will also take a look at the cost of coverage for employers, focusing on small businesses.
We invite suggestions as we trudge through the information and encourage our readers to contact the telephone support system for the plans and let us know your experiences after doing so.