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Lost health coverage? Here’s what you need to know

Special enrollment period on Health Benefit Exchange is set to end this Friday


OLYMPIA (May 4, 2020) — Have you lost your health insurance coverage due to layoff or a cut in hours? If you are uninsured, or about to lose your coverage, here’s what you need to know:

► APPLE HEALTH — You can sign up for Apple Health, Washington state’s Medicaid program for low-income people, year-round. More than 1.8 million Washington residents are enrolled. Learn more here.

► HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE — If you do not qualify for free or low-cost Apple Health, Washington Health Care Authority’s special open enrollment period continues for the Health Benefit Exchange, but it is scheduled to end this Friday, May 8. Sign up or get more information at Washington HealthPlanFinder.

► COBRA — Most employers are required to offer a temporary continuation of health coverage to workers who are laid off or had their hours reduced. Talk to your employer about your options, but keep in mind that COBRA can be expensive. Make sure you compare rates with what is offered at Washington HealthPlanFinder. If you enroll in COBRA and your employer stops helping pay for your premiums, you can report this change of income and open a special enrollment period for Washington HealthPlanFinder.

► IMMIGRANT WORKERS — Alien Emergency Medical is a program for people who are experiencing a qualifying medical emergency and who aren’t eligible for Medicaid due to citizenship status or Social Security number requirements. To qualify, a person must be a parent with a dependent child, an adult with a disability, a blind adult, age 65 or older, or a child under age 19. Eligibility is determined by the Specialized Medical Unit in the Department of Social and Health Services. For more information, call 1-877-501-2233.

► COVID-19 TESTING AND TREATMENT –Washington state has issued an emergency order to all state-regulated health plans requiring them to cover COVID-19 testing (including any lab fees) and the related visit for COVID-19 without copays, deductibles, or prior authorization requirements. Learn more here. If you are uninsured, as part of the COVID-19 relief legislation approved by Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing claims reimbursement to health care providers generally at Medicare rates for testing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 and treating uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis. That means, even if you are uninsured, you can get tested and treated for COVID-19. Contact your doctor or you local hospital or healthcare facility to make sure they are providing this service.


The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has this and much more information available on its COVID-19 Resources for Washington Workers page.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!