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March Is the Time to Enroll In Health Insurance

March 15th

Written by Jefferson Rose, Bilingual Community Outreach Specialist

This weekend we hosted a health fair and health insurance enrollment event at the Lynnwood Senior Center with free blood pressure screenings, kids activities, chair massages and health plan information.

The event was part of a statewide push to enroll as many people as possible before the end of March, the deadline to sign up for coverage and not be subject to the tax penalty.  There have been a lot of dates and times floating around, but the Washington Health Benefit Exchange recently announced the official guidelines.  For coverage to begin April 1st for a Qualified Health Plan, payment must be received by 5 PM on March 23rd.

Open enrollment does continue through March 31st, and if you enroll between March 24th and the 31st, coverage will begin May 1st.  If you do not enroll by the March 31st deadline, your next opportunity to apply for health coverage will be November 15th. If you are income eligible for free coverage (Washington Apple Health Medicaid), open enrollment is year-round.

There are many events across Washington where people can sign up or get more information.  Visit the WithinReach event calendar to see where we will be enrolling individuals and families for coverage or visit the Washington Health Benefit Exchange event calendar for an additional list of events across the state.

Come see us and enroll before the deadline!

Tags: Health insurance enrollment   

How to Apply For Health Insurance If Your Income Is Unpredictable

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Written by AmeriCorps member, Natasha Pietila

Since October 1st, we have received many questions about how to report complicated income on the Washington Healthplanfinder applications. Below, we discuss two common income questions.

Question: My income fluctuates every month. How should I report this on my application?

Answer: The Health Care Authority instructs Washington residents to report estimated monthly income. You should report the most accurate, up-to-date income for 2014. Here are some scenarios and tips:

  • If you predict that your 2014 income will fluctuate and mirror last year’s income, you might report a monthly average income, based on last year’s income.
  • If your income was stable last year, but is fluctuating now, you might report an estimated monthly average, based off your income earned since January 1st, 2014.
  • If you know that your income will be changing, report a change of income on your application after it has stabilized. This may be particularly relevant to seasonal workers. If your income changes by $150 or more per month, report the new income within 30 days – you may make this change on your application, even after open enrollment has ended. Note that this may change your eligibility for the type of insurance which you are receiving and/or the government subsidies for which you are eligible.

Essentially, you want your income on the Healthplanfinder to match up with the income which you report to the IRS.

Question: I receive rental income. Do I report my gross or net rental income?

Answer: Net rental income*. Net rental income is determined by subtracting allowable rental costs from the gross rental income.

*Please note that there are exceptions. You should report the income which you report on your taxes and refer to an accountant for specific questions.

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