What is Washington Healthplanfinder and how to navigate it

Adult Health - December 14th, 2023
What is Washington Healthplanfinder and how to navigate it

Adult Health

What is Washington Healthplanfinder and how to navigate it

Posted on December 14th, 2023 - Reading Time: 6 Minute/s

All Washingtonians, regardless of immigration status, can shop for health and dental insurance plans through Washington Healthplanfinder. We have some tips on how to navigate this shopping experience


Washington Heathplanfinder website is where people living in Washington shop for health insurance. If you don’t have insurance through your job or employer, you can get it here, regardless of immigration status.

There is a lot of information to keep track of when you apply for health insurance. These tips will give you an idea of what to expect when you use Washington Healthplanfinder.

What is Washington Healthplanfinder?

The state of Washington has a website wahealthplanfinder.org where you can shop for and enroll in a health plan for yourself and/or your family. The site offers ways to save you cannot find anywhere else.

Among the options are Cascade Care plans, which let customers pay less at the doctor’s office, with more predictable costs, and ensure essential services are covered. Depending on your income, you could qualify for special savings!

There are two types of Cascade Care plans: Cascade and Cascade Select. These plans cover the same essential services and benefits like doctor visits, trips to the hospital, and management of chronic diseases like diabetes. However, Cascade Select health plans must meet additional state oversight and requirements. This blog post will take you through applying for a Cascade Select plan.

When can I enroll in a Cascade Select plan?

There are two times when you can enroll:

Each year, beginning on November 1

This is called the Open Enrollment Period, sometimes called Open Enrollment or OEP. If you enroll by December 15, your coverage begins on January 1. If you enroll by January 15, your coverage begins on February 1.

You have certain life changes or special circumstances

A new baby, marriage, divorce, losing a job, a change in income, or other events could allow you to sign up for insurance outside the Open Enrollment Period. Learn more on Special Enrollment Periods and qualifying events.

What information do I need to enroll through Healthplanfinder?

Here are a few things to gather before you visit Healthplanfinder.

  • Legal name(s) of all household members (even if they do not need coverage)
  • Birthdates for household members
  • Home and mailing address
  • Social Security Number (if you have one) or immigration documents*
  • Tax filing status
  • Income information (recent pay stubs, tax return, or W-2)
  • The name of your employer or if you are self-employed
  • Current health plan information
  • Tribal membership (if enrolled in a federally recognized tribe)

Questions that could come up when filling out the application

Now that you have your documents ready, take a minute to review the questions you might be asked. That way, you’ll be ready to respond to them when you apply.

Keep this article handy to help you respond to the questions.

What if I don’t have a residential address?

You can enter a mailing address or PO box.

Can I get insurance even if I am not a US citizen?

Yes. Anyone living in Washington State can apply, regardless of immigration status.

What income do I report?

Report the income of each adult that you would like covered on your insurance. This income helps to determine the plans and savings you may qualify for.

Here are some examples of what you should report:

  • Salary, wages, tips and commissions
  • Self-employment income (minus business expenses)
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Title II Social Security benefits (including retirement, disability, and benefits for survivors)
  • Rental income
  • Dividends and royalties

What income do I not report?

Washington Healthplanfinder only asks for types of income needed to calculate your eligibility. Not all income counts towards this total. If you do not see space for a certain type of income, you do not need to enter it. These types of income do not need to be reported:

  • Cash assistance from other agencies (like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/TANF or  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Child support payments
  • Time-loss benefits
  • Title IV-E and state foster care payments
  • Some Veteran (VA) benefits*

*Under VA rules, anyone who served honorable for two years in a branch of the military is eligible for some benefits, even if they never left American soil or saw combat.

Do I report income for dependents?

Only report a dependent’s income if it meets the tax filing threshold. The tax filing threshold determines if a person can file a tax return. This applies whether the dependent files a tax return or not.

These are the current tax filing threshold requirements according to Washington Healthplanfinder:

  • Earned income is equal or greater than $12,000
  • Unearned income is equal or greater than $1,050 or
  • Earned and unearned income add up to the larger of the below amounts:
    • $1,050
    • Earned income plus $350:

Note: CHPW does not provide tax advice or certify that these are the most current IRS requirements. For any questions, consult a professional tax advisor.

How do I report my income if I am self-employed?

Report the total amount of money you earned last month, minus what you spent to do your work or help your business (your net income). Subtract what you spent in the same year on things like:

  • Job-related transportation costs (not related to your commute)
  • Depreciation
  • Wages and fringe benefits you give your employees
  • Property, liability or business interruption insurance
  • Interest (including mortgage interest paid to banks)
  • Legal and professional services
  • Rent or lease of job-related property and utilities
  • Commissions, taxes, licenses and fees
  • Advertising
  • Contract labor
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Certain travel and meal costs

Note: CHPW does not provide tax advice or certify that these are the most current IRS requirements. For any questions, consult a professional tax advisor.

Can I get financial help to lower the cost of my coverage?

Yes. In fact, 9 out of 10 CHPW members qualify for special savings. Here are some savings you may be eligible for: tax credits, premium savings, and cost-sharing reductions.

  • Tax credits* are a federal “premium tax credit” that reduces your monthly premium payments for insurance plans purchased through health insurance marketplaces such as Washington Healthplanfinder. The tax credit is available to individuals and families that meet income levels.
  • Premium savings can come from Cascade Care Savings, a state program that helps reduce the amount you pay monthly. Available only with Gold or Silver plans, your household income must be under a certain income level to get these savings.
  • Cost-sharing reductions mean you could pay less for things such as doctor’s visits, lab tests, and drugs. To qualify, you must meet income levels, and you must choose a Silver-level plan. (American Indians and Alaska Natives can also qualify to get these cost-sharing reductions when they enroll in a Bronze or Gold plan.)

*U.S. citizens and individuals who have federally documented immigration status (often described as “lawfully present”) may be eligible to receive premium tax credits. Anyone living in Washington who does not have documented status will not be able to get premium tax credit savings, but may still safely apply and qualify for state savings to reduce costs.

Things to consider

There are many factors to consider when selecting a health plan. Two key components are coverage and cost. Learn more about which Individual & Family Plan is best for you.

When you shop for a health plan, consider:

Questions? CHPW can help

We can discuss your needs, explain plan options, and help you enroll. We can also see if you qualify for financial help that could lower your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Our licensed health plan experts are available to discuss your coverage needs, answer any questions you might have about Individual & Family Cascade Select plans, and help you enroll through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Want to work with someone local?

You can meet with an expert in person, or email directly. Find a CHPW Individual & Family Plan expert by selecting your county. Click their name to send an email, or dial the phone number provided.

Or call CHPW at 1-833-993-0181 (TTY: 711). We’re available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more:

 


 Sources: Washington Healthplanfinder, Health Care Authority

 

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