Enrollments in health care plans through Washington state’s new health care exchange continue to increase, but it turns out a majority of the enrollees so far won’t be paying for their plans.
“The Medicaid newly eligible population accounts for a little more than half of the 25,000 that we’ve seen,” Michael Marchand, with the new Washington Health Care Exchange, tells KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.
A Medicaid expansion under Obamacare raised the income threshold for those eligible.
“So that’s the new population that’s part of the expansion that the state undertook,” says Marchand. “It’s quite possible that those people may have never had health insurance in the past and have been able to go to Washington Health Plan Finder and determine that their eligibility actually qualifies them for free insurance.”
In addition to the 25,000 enrolled, an additional 37,000 residents have completed online applications that are awaiting payment that is due in December.
The state estimates about 1 million Washington state residents do not have health insurance, or about one in seven people.
Marchand says they’ve found the bulk of those uninsured will likely get fully-subsidized health care or assistance of some kind.
“We’ve figured out that probably more than 90 percent of those who are of the 1 million who are currently uninsured, they’re going to receive financial help in one way or another, whether it’s free or through tax credits.”
Washington residents have six months to buy health insurance through the new exchange during the first enrollment period ending in March.
KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross, Jamie Skorheim and The Associated Press contributed to this report.