New health care plan opens for uninsured in Washington State

Washington residents who’ve been uninsured for at least six months and who have a pre-existing medical condition now can apply for coverage under the new, federally funded Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.

The new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan is being run by the state’s current high risk pool, the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP), and funded by a $102 million grant from the federal government until 2014.

To qualify for the new plan, you must be a Washington state resident and be a citizen or national of the United States or a legal resident of the United States; have been uninsured for at least six months before applying and; have a pre-existing condition.

The benefits under the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan vary depending on which deductible you select, $2,500 or $500:

— Rates for the $2,500 deductible plan range from $161-$769 per month depending on your age and whether or not you smoke;

— Rates under the $500 deductible plan are $324-$1,577 per month, also depending on your age and whether or not you smoke.

Coverage for those who apply by Aug. 15 will begin Sept. 1, 2010. Washington state joins 29 other states using federal funds to run their own program. Applications for the new plan are available at or by calling toll-free 1-877-505-0514.