Health care summit establishes groundwork for Washington state to comply with Obamacare

SEATTLE - Gov. Jay Inslee, joined by federal and state health care leaders and a coalition of more than 100 local organizations from across the state, this past Tuesday announced a plan to educate Washington residents about new opportunities for health care coverage under Medicaid expansion and Washington's health benefit exchange. "A healthy state has healthy families, and healthy families have health care coverage," said Inslee. "It won't be easy - it's going to take a broad coalition to meet this challenge because this isn't just about healthier families. It's about a healthier economy, too." Inslee figures Washington state will save about $280 million by the end of 2015, and add 10,000 new jobs as a result of the coming health care reform changes. "On Oct. 1, Washington's new health insurance marketplace will open for enrollment," said Susan Johnson, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "This is an unprecedented opportunity for Washingtonians to get connected with the security that quality, affordable health coverage provides-in some cases for the first time in their lives," Johnson added. "I am thrilled to stand side-by-side with Washington's health care leaders in launching the effort to make this new opportunity for coverage a reality." In addition to federal and state health care leaders, participants at yesterday's Seattle summit included representatives from hospitals, local health clinics, regional public health offices, health care providers, health advocates, community-based organizations, health insurers and labor unions. The groups shared best practices for targeting and reaching under-served populations and strategies for effective outreach to a wide range of populations. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will provide coverage for adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual or $26,951 for a family of three), said Dorothy Teeter, director of the Health Care Authority. Those at Tuesday's summit conference also viewed a demo of the new Washington Healthplanfinder, where people will enroll in a health plan and learn if they qualify for premium and/or cost-sharing subsidies.

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