In 2024 Washington expands health care access to all regardless of immigration status.
For the first time, everyone in Washington, including an estimated 246,000 individuals with undocumented status, can purchase health and dental insurance coverage that will start in 2024. This new opportunity means that if you live anywhere in Washington state, you can access regular health care services regardless of immigration status.
Whether you’re thinking of health insurance for the first time or making changes to your existing plan, if you don’t receive insurance through an employer or another program like Apple Health (Medicaid) or Medicare, or if you’re self-employed, it’s time to know your options. You can sign up for health insurance beginning November 1, 2023, through January 15, 2024.
Choices include Washington’s Cascade Care and Cascade Select, two types of affordable health plans that help you pay less and still get quality health care. Choose a Cascade Care or Cascade Select Silver or Gold plan, and you may also get financial assistance to help pay for the cost of your monthly payments, even if you have undocumented status. Health plan costs differ depending on factors like your household income, how many people live in your house, and what county you live in, but there are savings available, if you qualify.
Here are some answers to common questions about enrolling in a health insurance plan.
Why Should You Think About 2024 Coverage Now?
The time to get a health plan for you and your family is from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024. Sign up by December 15 for coverage beginning January 1, 2024, or by January 15, for coverage beginning February 1, 2024. This is known as the Open Enrollment Period and only happens once a year. During this time, you can sign up for health insurance, adjust your current plan, or cancel a plan. If you miss it, you may have to wait a year for the next enrollment period to make changes.
Will Your Immigration Information Be Kept Private?
Yes, your information will be kept private. For immigrants, it’s natural to have concerns about how applying for health care might impact your immigration status or that of a family member based on the “public charge” rule. “Public charge” is a test applied to some immigrants to determine the likelihood of dependence on government assistance. However, applying for and receiving health care in the state of Washington does not affect the immigration status or citizenship application for you, your family, or people in your household. This means you can buy a health plan and get financial help without worrying about immigration status.
Why Do You Need Health Insurance?
Health insurance allows you to see a doctor regularly, catch health problems early, and get ongoing treatment for chronic conditions more affordably than without it. For example, in the Latino community, illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are common and should be managed under a doctor’s care. According to the University of Washington’s Latino Center for Health, diabetes is twice as common among Latinos in Washington compared to non-Hispanic Whites (14% vs. 7%). Still, many Latinos lack regular access to health care, which can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Many people go without health insurance because they think they can’t afford it, don’t qualify, or don’t need it. Without regular care, you might delay seeing a doctor and end up in a costly emergency room when ill.
What Is Covered in a Health Plan?
Essential care, like visits to the doctor, preventive care, such as vaccinations, annual checkups, and screenings for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, are usually covered. It often includes pregnancy and newborn care. Depending on the specific plan you choose, costs for hospital stays, surgeries, and medications are paid for at different rates.
- Learn more about the CHPW Individual & Family Cascade Select Plans
- Learn more about Choosing Health Insurance: Which Individual & Family Plan Is Best for You?
- See Individual & Family Plan FAQs
- Call us at 1-833-993-0181opens phone dialer (TTY: 711opens phone dialer) or visit Washington Healthplanfinder to enroll in a CHPW Individual & Family Plan online.
- Learn more about Washington State Cascade Care Plans
Article by: Brisa Guajardo, Manager of Community Outreach, at Community Health Plan of Washington