240,000 Washingtonians signed up for coverage; Cascade Care enrollment more than doubled in year two

Washington Healthplanfinder ends historic open enrollment with record numbers

OLYMPIA – Washington Health Benefit Exchange recently released its initial 2022 open enrollment data. A record 240,000 Washingtonians signed up for 2022 coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org) the state’s online health insurance marketplace. This represents an increase of more than 6% over 2021.

In addition, 73% of 2022 customers now receive some form of monthly savings on their health plan, up from 61% in 2021. The increase was driven by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which provided additional federal tax credits. As a result, 42% of Washington Healthplanfinder customers now pay less than $100 per month for their 2022 coverage and 46,000 pay less than $10 per month. This year’s open enrollment period ran from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022.

“An unprecedented number of Washingtonians came to Washington Healthplanfinder during this year’s open enrollment looking for coverage, and nearly 60,000 new customers gained coverage since ARPA was implemented in May,” said Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan. “Increased savings also led to more interest in our state’s new Cascade Care plans.”

In their second year, Cascade Care plans, which offer lower deductibles, on average, and standard benefits and cost-sharing across carriers, proved more popular than ever. 80,000 customers signed up for a Cascade Care plan during this year’s open enrollment, up from 35,000 in 2021. This included 8,500 people who chose a Cascade Select plan, the state’s public option, a more than 300% increase over 2021. Cascade Care plans were introduced exclusively on Washington Healthplanfinder in 2021 following state legislation passed in 2019.

Over the past year, the Exchange has implemented several initiatives aimed at decreasing customers’ monthly health care coverage costs. This includes implementation of a new state premium assistance program for employees of licensed child care facilities. The Exchange partnered with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (an Exchange-certified Navigator organization) to reach out to these employees across the state.

As a result, more than 2,000 employees of child care facilities have been newly connected with free or low-cost health care coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. During this year’s open enrollment, the Exchange also embarked on a statewide “Adventure Tour” to reach customers in their communities. The tour made 10 stops in Washington cities where Exchange staff and certified assisters answered over 300 questions from community members about their health care coverage options.

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice of 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.

About Washington Healthplanfinder:

Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families 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. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder will begin Nov. 1, 2022. Enrollment reports and data are available from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

About Washington Apple Health:

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority here.

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