I am a member of the Seattle-King County Board of Health and we’ve been working on early implementation efforts of “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are currently about 16% or (approximately 200,000) King County residents who are uninsured and a big challenge for us locally will be to get as many of these uninsured people signed up as soon as possible in the new year.
Two major elements are going into effect soon.
I. Medicaid Expansion
Beginning in October, eligibility for Medicaid in Washington will expand to include those who were not eligible before and if they sign up, their healthcare coverage will begin January 2014. 80,000 uninsured King County residents—about 26,000 of whom are in Seattle—will be newly eligible for Medicaid.
II. Health Exchanges
Beginning in January, a new Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange will provide individuals and small businesses private health coverage options for purchase, and subsidies and tax credits will be available to help make options more affordable. About 100,000 uninsured King County residents—about 30,000 of whom are in Seattle—will be newly eligible for subsidized coverage through the Exchange.
In April 2013, 42 percent of Americans were unaware that the ACA is still the law of the land, and about half of the public said they did not have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it would impact their own family. To help get the word out, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new video to help people understand the health care system changes ahead. I encourage you to check it out and share it with your networks and people you know. “The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare” explains the basic changes in the way Americans will get health coverage and what it will cost starting in 2014, whether it’s through their employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or buying insurance on their own with the help of federal tax credits.
Watch the new animation and share the video with family and friends. Organizations are also welcome to embed the video on their websites or blogs. A Spanish-language version of the video will be released in the future.
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