Dr. Charissa Fotinosdirector of Medicaid at the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) kicked off 2022 Northwest Interior State of Interior Reform Policy Conference discussing the agency’s top health insurance priorities.
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Fotinos abroad Apple Health program, which serves more than 2 million Washingtonians. She said HCA is currently working to expand the program. Earlier this year, the legislature ordered HCA to establish a similar plan that would cover people who are not eligible for federal programs or qualified health plans, she said.
“It will mirror Apple Health where it can,” Fotinos said. “There may be things that are excluded, such as dental care, which is currently the case. We hope to have this program operational by January 2024. The process as to how we will go about the sourcing for this is still some discussion. But we should have a simple direction and [a] plan that we can share with you all in the coming weeks.
Fotinos also discussed the upcoming end of the federal public health emergency.
“To the best of our knowledge, it will happen in January,” she said. “It will be 400,000 people in transition, if things stay as we plan now, who didn’t have to renew or pay bonuses if they were in certain groups. It will end. We plan to do this unfolding on 12 months, so it will be a regular renewal process every month. We have been planning this, along with many other states, for months. We have worked with our partners at the Health Benefit Exchange to ensure that people who are over the age from Apple Health and who are now eligible for Medicare, or for people who are at risk of losing their Apple Health coverage, are now connected to the Health Benefit Exchange to see if they are eligible for a qualified plan.
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