Washington Apple Health: A Health Insurance Answer for Many Parents
One of the many things we do in the WithinReach Call Center is to connect families to free or low cost medical insurance for their children. Many families call us in desperation. Sometimes it is a mom wondering how the family will afford to cover that unexpected medical expense, anticipating a startlingly high bill in the days ahead. Other times a dad calls, having just received word from his employer that premiums for his health coverage will be increasing, making it difficult to make ends meet. The common element to all of these scenarios is the relief, and often-unexpected surprise, that the Apple Health for Kids Program can take much of the financial burden off their family.
For 12 years, WithinReach has helped sign up children for Apple Health for Kids (AHK), the free or low cost health insurance. Last year we helped enroll around 4,300 kids and provided information about AHK to 20,300 more families. When we start applications for parents over the phone, we realize how resilient our Washington callers are. They often find that they have to prioritize. They worry about meeting the needs of their children, before their own needs. Sometimes, after we complete the application for their children’s health insurance, they ask: “Is there something like this for adults?” Unfortunately, in the past, we have had very few options to give low-income adults who are uninsured but that is about to change with Affordable Care Act taking effect right around the corner. Washington State’s Health Care Authority capitalized on the success of the children’s Apple Health for Kids brand and has created Washington Apple Health, a spinoff brand for its adult Medicaid program.
Many people are not sure what the Affordable Care Act will really mean for their family or find themselves anxious about what to expect in the coming months. At the WithinReach Family Health Hotline, we are proud and excited about the opportunity to connect families to the health care relief that the Affordable Care Act will offer! It will be such a reward to tell many parents that there now is affordable health insurance coverage for adults as well as their children.
October 1 is when the Washington HealthPlanFinder call center and website will open. New health care insurance plans start on January 1. If you have questions, we will be here, just a phone call away and ready to help.