What Washington State Residents Need to Know About Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act or ACA)

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What Washington State Residents Need to Know About Obamacare

Update: The deadline for obtaining coverage that begins January 1, 2017 has been extended through the end of the day on Friday, December 23.

Welcome to the fastest way to find out about Obamacare in Washington.

Here, you'll find clear and accurate information about Obamacare, including:

  • whether or not you must get health insurance
  • what the available plans cover
  • how much coverage will cost
  • how to sign up for a plan, and
  • how to get help if you need it.

To begin, keep in mind these key points about Obamacare in Washington:

1. You are legally required to have health insurance, unless you qualify for an exemption.

The Affordable Care Act requires you to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for an exemption from the law. You must report whether you have coverage -- or whether you are exempt -- when you file your taxes in April.

To learn whether your current health plan satisfies the requirements of Obamacare or to find out whether you qualify for an exemption, see Do I Need to Get Obamacare in Washington?

2. Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance plans runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

For 2017 health plans, open enrollment runs from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. During that time, residents of Washington may use the website Washington Healthplanfinder to choose their health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving subsidies, and get other help they need.

To get coverage beginning January 1, you must enroll by December 23.

If you are currently uninsured, you can use the state marketplace to compare plans and enroll in a plan that meets your needs. 

If you already have health insurance, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan if it is still available. Even if you can continue in the plan you have now, however, open enrollment provides an opportunity to review your coverage, compare plans, and switch to a new one if you find a better option.

3. You may qualify for subsidies that will save you money.

Many people who sign up for insurance at the Washington exchange will be eligible for cost savings. Savings are available in the form of tax credits to help you lower your premiums or reduce your out-of-pocket costs for care.

If your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Washington.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Washington.

For an overview of how much health care plans cost under Obamacare, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in Washington?

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