Open Enrollment: Seven insurers offering plans for 2018

Open enrollment for 2019 coverage will run from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018.

Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/washington-state-health-insurance-exchange/

All counties will have 2019 exchange coverage, but 14 (up from 9 this year) will have only one insurer; average proposed rate increase is more than 19 percent

Washington marketplace highlights and updates

Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/washington-state-health-insurance-exchange/
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Spread the word: Get Everyone Insured!

If you gather a random group of 16 people in E Jefferson County, one of them doesn’t have health insurance. You probably come in contact with several over the course of a week (a son or daughter, a neighbor, someone who does work at your house?). So do them a favor. Let them know that they owe it to themselves and their loved ones to check out coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

For many lower income folks, coverage is very affordable, thanks to the subsidies that remain in place. The deadline for signing up for coverage effective January 1st is just ONE WEEK AWAY, December 15th. (However in WA the open enrollment extends to January 15th for coverage effective 2/1/18.)

It is easy to check out options on line.

Go to “Shop for a Plan” on the official website: wahealthplanfinder.org.

There is also help available from certified navigators on Mondays in Port Townsend (9-5 at the DSHS office at 915 Sheridan). People should call Sandra Padilla at 253-280-9880 or email her at SandraPadilla@SeaMarCHC.org.

Everyone (that means you!) can play a roll here to get the word out. There are a lot of myths out there, especially with the Trump administration determined to undermine “Obamacare.” Contrary to popular belief, benefits are in place and will not change for 2018.

Trump administration ends Navigator funding for September. Layoffs happen across the country

The continued attack on our healthcare system.

The Trump administration has let funding for Obamacare’s $63 million in-person outreach program lapse, leading to layoffs and confusion among nonprofits that enroll vulnerable populations in coverage.

“I have delivered 10 layoff notices to staff members,” says Donna Friedsam, director of Covering Wisconsin. “We don’t have a funding flow anymore.”

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/8/16268572/trump-obamacare-navigators

 

Medicaid is for everyone – New York Times

The war on the poor in America continues. As the Republicans work in secrecy to come up with a healthcare bill to serve someone other than the average American,  The New York Times ponders the destruction of Medicaid, high on the Republicans list. If ever there was a rich vs. poor issue, this is it. If this gets implemented as the Republicans and Trump want, it will have disastrous consequences for Jefferson and Clallam Counties. Both of them have high levels of both Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries and our hospitals budgets are based on those reimbursals being available. It is the calm before the storm here.

First to lose Obamacare? The sickest county in the state – Seattle Times

The Seattle Times has a good article about the outcome of the Republican led move to sow uncertainty and doubt about Obamacare’s future. Gray’s Harbor joins the growing ranks of county’s without healthcare insurance for over 2200 of it’s residents. And if the Republicans in Washington get their way, there will be over 7000 more joining them soon. Oddly, out of all this, we may end up getting single payer, due to the Republicans apparently hell bent on committing political suicide by alienating their base of white rural lower to middle class voters. 47 counties nationwide now don’t have health insurance companies serving them, most of the counties voted Republican. Read it and weep. Because counties like ours, which are largely using Medicare and Medicaid to supply us with health coverage are next up on the Republicans chopping block.

Obamacare is starting to crack, starting in our state’s sickest spot, Grays Harbor County. But the plan isn’t to fix it. It’s to make it dramatically worse.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/first-to-lose-obamacare-the-sickest-county-in-the-state/

Cantwell to meet with Kitsap health care providers and Medicaid patients – Kitsap Daily News

The sad but true news behind this is that 40% of Kitsap voters went for Trump in the last election. Also, as the article goes on to state, 20,000 people in Kitsap county are on Medicaid. An additional 24,000 are covered on both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Many if not most are likely to lose their coverage under the proposed, “TrumpCare”, also known as Paul Ryan’s plan. This is the Republican’s “plan”. To give poor people “tax credits” that do them no good (due to their status as eligible for Medicaid, many don’t make enough to pay federal income taxes folks, and  if they do work, use EZ1040 forms that don’t itemize). Then throw them off the federal government and put the load on the State to fund. Reminds me of an old song, “Take a load of Fanny, and you put the load right on me.”

BREMERTON – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will meet with Kitsap-area health care providers, elected officials, tribal health leaders, and Medicaid patients on March 11.

The meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m., at the Harrison Medical Center first floor auditorium, 2520 Cherry Ave., Bremerton. Residents wishing to attend should RSVP to Bryan Watt at bryan_watt@cantwell.senate.gov or 202-224-8277.

Read the rest of the story at:

http://www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/cantwell-to-meet-with-kitsap-health-care-providers-and-medicaid-patients/

Press release: Washington State Medical Association President’s Statement on the American Health Care Act – State of Reform

The medical community has been hard hit with Obamacare, in that while it vastly expanded access for citizens, it has not helped the healthcare professionals that are needed to implement it. Doctors loads are increasing exponentially, charges paid to them are shrinking (mainly due to the Republicans in Congress over the last few years), patients in Jefferson County can routinely wait six months to see their primary care physician and the switch to electronic records has been a disaster, despite the glowing PR from hospital administrators and software vendors. So I get it when they say, “replace rather than repeal.” But they do not support the AHCA as currently drafted.

“On Tuesday, March 6, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act was released. While we recognize that the ACA has flaws that must be addressed and we are encouraged to see that the bill recognizes the need for replacement rather than simply repeal, the WSMA does not support the AHCA as currently drafted.

“At the heart of the WSMA’s Principles of Health Care Reform is access to affordable health care for all Washingtonians. While the Congressional Budget Office analysis has yet to be released, as currently written, the AHCA puts our state’s Medicaid program at risk, reducing access to coverage for thousands of our most vulnerable patients. The act also shifts much of the Medicaid funding obligation onto Washington state. Sufficient funding of our state’s health care program is imperative to avoid damaging ripple effects throughout the entire health care system. Our state is already facing budgetary challenges, and is simply not able to fill the funding gap that would result from the policies proposed in this act.

Read the rest at

http://stateofreform.com/news/states/washington/2017/03/press-release-washington-state-medical-association-presidents-statement-american-health-care-act/