Washington Health Benefit Exchange and Medicaid (Apple Health)

What you need to know:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a program that allows many Washington residents to access health insurance coverage at an affordable rate and, in some instances, at no cost. The ACA was created to ensure most can get the healthcare they need. You cannot be denied health insurance coverage due to a sickness or prior health issue.

To obtain Washington Health Benefit Exchange coverage for 2019, open enrollment began on November 1, 2018 and ended on December 15, 2018. After December 15, 2018, you can only enroll if you have a qualifying event.

Apple Health Medicaid enrollments or renewals are continuous throughout the year.  Based on your income and citizenship status, you may qualify for the Apple Health Medicaid program. The Apple Health for Adults coverage program provides healthcare at no cost.

To help you find a health insurance plan, Washington State has set up the Health Benefit Exchange website (wahealthplanfinder.org). This website can help you:

  • Find and sign up for the health insurance plan that is best for you or your family.
  • Figure out how much your qualified health plan might cost you.
  • Find out what is covered by a basic level of health insurance. This may include:
    • doctor and emergency room visits
    • care for children (including dental and eye care)
    • prescriptions
    • maternity and newborn care
    • preventive care like cancer screenings and immunizations
    • and much more!

Health Benefits Exchange:

Important open enrollment dates:

  • Open enrollment for 2019 started November 1, 2018 and ended December 15, 2018. After December 15, 2018, you can only enroll if you have a qualifying life event. If you have such an event, you have 60 days to either enroll in a qualified health plan for the first time, or change the plan you are enrolled in to more suitable coverage.
  • If you do not qualify for a life event, you will need to wait for the next open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Health Benefit Exchange 2019 insurers:

Health Benefits Exchange insurers have remained the same for 2019. Exchange plans are offered by the following companies (listed alphabetically, by county):

  • Ambetter: Adams, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Walla Walla, Yakima
  • BridgeSpan Health Company: Klickitat
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington (formerly Group Health): Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, Yakima
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest: Clark, Cowlitz
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Washington: Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Garfield, Jefferson, Okanogan, Spokane, Thurston, Walla Walla, Whitman
  • Molina HealthCare of Washington: Clark, Ferry, King, Klickitat, Lincoln, Mason, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston
  • Premera BlueCross: Benton, Cowlitz, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Snohomish, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Whatcom

"In-network" access to UW Medicine:

UW Medicine is considered "in-network" for several health insurance plans offered on the Exchange. Generally, patients pay less out-of-pocket for services when providers are in-network rather than out-of-network. Out-of-network services may require a higher co-payment or deductible than in-network services, or they may not be covered by insurance at all. IMPORTANT: When selecting an Exchange plan, please consider whether you will have access to your preferred providers at in-network rates.

UW Medicine is considered in-network for Exchange plans offered by the following companies:

  • Lifewise of Washington: Lifewise Essential EPO, Lifewise Essential HSA
  • Molina Healthcare of Washington: Molina Marketplace HMO
  • Premera Blue Cross*: Personal Care EPO -- UW Medicine, Preferred EPO

* Premera Blue Cross offers Personal Care plans that require members seek care from their selected network. UW Medicine is one of the networks included within the Personal Care plans and the only network that UW Medicine is in-network for.​

Before enrolling in an Exchange plan, confirm with both the plan and your medical provider(s) that your providers are part of the plan's network. Since networks and provider affiliations change over time, you should also periodically confirm your provider's network status even after you've enrolled in the plan. Be aware that health plans sold inside the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (wahealthplanfinder.org) may offer different provider networks than those sold outside the Exchange.​

How to sign up:

  • Online: visit Washington Healthplanfinder
  • By Phone: Washington Healthplanfinder offers customer support to help you get the information you need to enroll in health coverage that best meets your needs and your budget. A trained representative will help educate you about your options and walk you through the enrollment process. The Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center is open to enroll individuals, families and small businesses in quality health coverage and answer questions about financial help and the enrollment process. Toll-free support is available from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 1-855-WAFINDER (1-855-923-4633) or TTY/TDD 1-855-627-9604.
  • In-Person: In-person support and help will be offered at many places throughout the greater Seattle and Puget Sound area, including hospitals, libraries, and other community groups. Get help enrolling here.
  • At UW Medicine Hospitals: Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, UW Medical Center and Valley Medical Center will have staff on-site to help you sign up. Call ahead to schedule your appointment if you plan to come to one of the enrollment sites.
  • At UW Neighborhood Clinics: You can utilize any UW Medicine Hospital for assistance with questions or enrollment.

Enrollment assistance, questions and appointment scheduling:

UW Medicine is here to help you understand your healthcare coverage options so you can make an informed selection regarding your healthcare. Please call to schedule an appointment for assistance with your application or if you have questions:

  • Harborview Medical Center/UW Medical Center: 206.744.3084, option 2
  • Northwest Hospital: 206.668.6565
  • Valley Medical Center: 425.656.5599 or 425.251.5178, option 3

Before you begin, make sure you have information for all household members applying for coverage:

  • Legal names
  • Family relationships for each member of the family unit
  • Birth dates
  • Identification numbers (Social Security Number or immigration information)
  • Proof of immigration status if you're a legal permanent resident
  • Proof of tribal status if you're a registered American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Income before taxes
  • Proof of income if your income has changed since you last filed taxes
  • Tax filing status: this is what you report on your IRS tax form
  • Current health insurance information (coverage dates, group number and policy number)
  • Open Enrollment Renewal letter from the Washington HealthPlanFinder (if applicable)

UW Medicine enrollment sites:

Harborview Medical Center
8th Ave Ground West Lobby - Interview Lanes    
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Harborview Medical Center
8th Ave Ground West Lobby
Call for an appointment (206.744.3084, option 2)
Monday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

University of Washington Medical Center
Financial Counseling - Interview Lanes
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

University of Washington Medical Center Admitting
Call for an appointment (206.744.3084, option 2)
Monday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
Tuesday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Northwest Hospital Emergency Department Financial Counselors 
(Dedicated office in the ED)
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Valley Medical Center
Main Campus: Financial Advocates
Main Admitting Department
400 S. 43rd Street
Renton, WA 98055
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Valley Medical Center
Emergency Department
400 S. 43rd Street
Renton, WA 98055    
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Valley Medical Center
Patient Financial Services: Customer Service
3600 Lind Avenue, Suite 110
Renton, WA 98058
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

More information: