Better than ever: Don’t miss Open Enrollment to find your best options for health insurance

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Health insurance is more affordable and offers more security than ever in Washington, thanks to two changes from previous years.

  • Expanded tax credits mean that more people can qualify for a subsidy to reduce the cost of insurance.
  • Washington’s Cascade Care is a new category of plans that make it easier to compare plans and avoid hidden costs.

You don’t need to know all the ins and outs about insurance to find out which options might work best for you. You can go online and compare costs. Open enrollment has started and runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. This is the time of year when anyone can enroll in a health or dental plan through Washington’s insurance marketplace— Washington Healthplanfinder.

A man and his young daughter sit in front of a computer, with the caption saying, "You're tackling something new. We're there for you." With the logo for Washington Healthplanfinder

You can shop, compare and choose a health plan including the new Cascade Care plans. But, don’t miss the deadline (Jan. 15).

With so many people changing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, these health plans offer the security of having health insurance no matter what happens. 

Most people pay less than $100 a month because of American Rescue Plan

Most uninsured King County residents now can get a high-value Cascade plan for less than $100 a month – or basic coverage for as little as $1 per month. That’s because of funding from the federal COVID-19 relief bill (the American Rescue Plan).

Even families earning well above $100,000 now qualify for tax credits. Previously, they weren’t eligible for federal help.

Public Health—Seattle & King County has insurance Navigators available to help anyone compare health plans and get enrolled. Navigators can help you find your best options through the insurance marketplace. They also can help you enroll in Washington’s Apple Health program if your family qualifies.

Cascade Care – the newest option in Washington

The Cascade Care plans are a great option for anyone who worries about deductibles and co-pays for their office visits. 

  • These plans offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans.
  • These plans cover primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs without a deductible.
  • All Cascade Care plans make it easier to compare – because the benefits and deductibles are the same across all insurance carriers. As a result, you can easily shop based on: cost of the monthly premium; who is in the provider networks; customer service; and quality ratings.

You can shop independently on the Washington Healthplanfinder website. And if you’d like to discuss your options, you can talk to a Navigator by phone or in person. Visit for a list of outreach events and learn how to get assistance with enrolling into insurance.

For more information – and for assistance with enrollment:

  • Online: King County health outreach website: Answers to basic questions, plus locations and dates for in-person assistance
  • Online: Washington Healthplanfinder website: It’s easy to browse specific options, compare pricing, and see whether a key provider or prescription is covered
  • Public Health’s hotline (the Community Health Access Program – CHAP) at 1-800-756-5437 
  • Email questions to:
  • In-person appointments at Federal Way Enrollment Storefront office (at 1640 South 318th Place, Federal Way), with hours Mon.-Thurs. 8:30-5 and Sat. 10-2
  • Special events for health insurance and COVID-19 vaccine are listed on the outreach website

Originally published 11/5/2021

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I'm part of the communications team at Public Health - Seattle & King County and work closely with all of the programs in the Community Health Services Division.