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Affordable healthcare being made available for school employees

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

OLYMPIA – Nearly 150,000 school district, charter school and union-represented educational service district employees statewide will soon be eligible for affordable healthcare benefits.

Washington State Health Care Authority Chief Communications Officer Amy Blondin announced in an Aug. 5 press release the board overseeing the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program has approved final medical plans, employee premiums, and designated service areas.

The act ensures access to a variety of high-quality, affordable medical plan options to eligible school employees in 2020. The first annual open enrollment period will run Oct. 1 through Nov. 15.

“This is a very significant moment in our ongoing efforts to build a healthier Washington,” Health Care Authority (HCA) Director Sue Birch said. “For years, we have heard stories of school employees who have been unable to afford health care for themselves and their families. Using our purchasing power, we are able to offer a variety of options for excellent, affordable coverage.”

Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Kaiser Permanente Washington, Kaiser Permanente Washington Options, Premera Blue Cross, and HCA’s self-insured Uniform Medical Plan (administered by Regence BlueShield and Washington State Rx Services), are the selected insurance providers.

School employees will be offered more than a dozen plan choices dependent on their county of residence.

Employee-only subscribers will have medical plan options with monthly premiums as low as $13 and no higher than $116. Employees enrolling their spouse or state registered-domestic partner and children will have medical plan options with monthly premiums as low as $39 and no higher than $348, the release reads.

Some employees, including those who live outside Washington, may have additional plan options if they work in a district that crosses county lines or is in a county that borders Idaho or Oregon.

Benefit and premium information for employees will be made available on HCA's website beginning Sept. 3. HCA will be mailing an enrollment guide to school employees in mid-September with details on the plans and benefit offerings, premiums, and how to enroll. HCA also will offer in-person benefits fairs and online tools to help employees select the right plans for themselves and their families.

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