Washington Health Exchange Prepares For Business

By Steve Jackson

Washington State’s Health Benefit Exchange is gearing up to help people and businesses sign up for health insurance coverage later this year.

Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange is currently organizing its online presence, as well as putting together a call center that will help people understand the process in deciding which health plans are right for them.

Officials say there will be four coverage options, called Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, based on the cost and amount of coverage they provide. The bronze option will have 40% deductable, the platinum option 10%.

To meet the goal of helping the estimated one million Washington state residents without health insurance, the plans will be subsidized based on a family income.

Exchange Spokesperson Michael Marchand If a family of 2 makes less than $59,000 a year, they would qualify for reduced premiums, for a family of four they could make up to $93,000.

Marchand says the subsidization would come in the form of a tax credit:

Marchand: "Lets face it waiting a whole year to take your tax credit, that’s a asking a lot whether you have a family of four making $42,000 or if you make $93,000, you have the option to take the tax credits monthly and apply to your premium or apply at the end of the year.”

Marchand says the Insurance Commissioners office is reviewing various plans to make sure they fit state standards for coverage, and it will likely take a few months before the actual cost of the four plans is released.'

More on Marchand, and our annual Health Forumhttp://www.kpbx.org/forums

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