January 28, 2023


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Washington’s health insurance exchange extends special enrollment period

Ryan Blethen

The state’s health insurance marketplace is extending its enrollment period until summer.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has pushed its special open enrollment through Aug. 15 in response to changes in federal law. The current enrollment period was set to close May 15.

The American Rescue Plan Act, recently passed by Congress, increases tax credits for people enrolled through the exchange. The new law also extends tax credits to middle-income people who previously weren’t eligible, and gives additional tax credits to those receiving at least one week of unemployment compensation this year.

The extension will help people who buy their health insurance through the exchange’s Healthplanfinder to realize the benefits of the American Rescue Plan Act, said Pam MacEwan, the exchange’s chief executive.

“For many of our customers, this may lower their monthly premium close to zero dollars. The new act provides significant benefits for 2021 and 2022 to our customers and we are working quickly to implement changes by early May,” MacEwan said. “Until then, customers need to keep their information up to date in Washington Healthplanfinder.”

On May 6, new Healthplanfinder customers will be able to see the increased tax credits from the legislation.

Washington is one of 14 states to run its own health insurance marketplace. The state’s program began enrollment for 2021 coverage on Nov. 1. The period was supposed to end on Dec. 15 but was extended to Jan. 15.

The state’s exchange re-opened enrollment on Feb. 15 to mirror actions by the federal government. The federal government’s Healthcare.gov serves 36 states that don’t run a marketplace.

Plans can be selected through the exchange website, WAhealthplanfinder.org, or by telephone at 1-855-923-4633.