On October 1st, 2013 residents of Washington State (as well as any other state) can sign up for health insurance. Currently, about one million of Washingtonians do not have any type of coverage. Medical bankruptcies are a problem when people discover that they have expensive illnesses with no way to pay for treatment. That is how they lose property and become homeless. Lack of health insurance can end a life prematurely, whereas having insurance can mean the difference between life and death.
After a big fight U.S. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a short name for a law that expanded coverage for millions of Americans. Because our state passed the Medicaid bill, many more people now qualify for free Silver Plan insurance, which includes dental and vision coverage. Even among partisan bickering and Republican politicians fiercely opposed to the ACA, the law applies to both Republicans and Democrats alike. In Washington State, the healthcare exchange is live beginning today, and can be found at this web address. Washington Health Benefit Exchange has a calculator that allows to determine whether an applicant qualifies for financial help. It is extremely easy to use: all that it asks for is the size of a household and its annual income.
Basically, ACA is good news for consumers. It lowers health care costs, provides comprehensive coverage, ends lifetime caps, stops discriminatory practice of charging women more than men and lets children and adults with preexisting conditions to get into the marketplace. Ultimately, when more people get into the pool, costs will drop even further. On the human side of this, people wouldn't have to worry about what happens to them if they get sick and have no way of seeing a doctor. The savings they get through the Exchange will be passed into the local economy, creating more jobs and wealth for residents of the state. It will ease the aftermath of economic recession that hit Washington families and businesses. It is good for our state, our businesses, our consumers, families and individuals, no matter their party affiliation or lack of.