Qualifying for health insurance — how to shop for new plans

If you haven’t yet checked out the website for Washington’s new insurance system — and are wondering how this is supposed to work — here’s an excerpt from the page that explains how, as of August 2013 (with some local links, to King County events):

Starting this fall, King County residents will have a new way to find, compare and enroll in health insurance. It’s called Washington Healthplanfinder, and it gives individuals, families and small business owners the confidence to choose the plan that best fits their needs and their budget.

Washington Healthplanfinder offers:

  • Apples-to-apples comparisons of health insurance plans
  • Financial help to pay for copays and premiums
  • Expert customer support online, by phone, or in-person through a local organization, insurance broker or agent

If you’re looking for in-person help in King County, you can start with our local enrollment page, which includes a list of events by city.

How Washington Healthplanfinder works

  1. Shop for health plans anonymously. Individuals and families can begin the application process by entering basic information on a secure website. Small business owners can select plan options for their employees. If you’re not ready to fill anything out, you can browse and learn more about what is available.
  2. Find out if you are eligible for financial help. Based on your age, annual income and household size, Washington Healthplanfinder can determine if you are eligible for help paying for premiums and copays. Families of four making up to $94,200 can qualify for help.
  3. Compare plans side by side. It’s easy to sort plans by cost, coverage, provider or any number of factors that are important to you.
  4. Select a plan. Once you’ve looked through your options, you can feel confident choosing the plan that best fits your needs and your budget.
  5. You’re covered.* Now you can get the care you need. If an accident or illness strikes, a quality health plan can help protect you from financial hardship.

*Washington Healthplanfinder will begin enrolling consumers on Oct. 1, 2013, for health coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.

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