Submitted by Washington Health Care Authority.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 100,000 Washington residents have enrolled in Apple Health (Medicaid), our state’s insurance program for individuals with lower incomes. About 1.9 million Washington residents are now enrolled in the program, which offers comprehensive physical and behavioral health care coverage.
“Apple Health is meant to be there when people need health care the most,” said HCA State Medicaid Director MaryAnne Lindeblad. “Due to the pandemic, many people are experiencing loss of income that may make them eligible for this program. We encourage those seeking free or low-cost health care coverage to visit our website to learn more.”
The state Office of Financial Management estimates that due to the pandemic, the uninsured rate in our state rose from 6.7 percent in January 2020 to 13 percent in the spring, and was at about 8.8 percent on July 25.
HCA also worked to ensure health care coverage by offering a limited open enrollment in July for members of our Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) and School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) programs.
During that limited open enrollment, PEBB and SEBB members could opt in to medical coverage after previously waiving it, and/or add dependents to their accounts for medical coverage. This resulted in about 2,400 new covered lives in the PEBB and SEBB programs as of August 1.
PEBB and SEBB members also were able to enroll in the Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), or adjust their contribution amounts for those benefits if already enrolled, to reflect unanticipated changes in household circumstances due to the pandemic.