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Washington Healthplanfinder Announces Special Enrollment Opportunity for Same-Sex Marriages

Domestic Partnerships Converted to Marriages on June 30 Provides 60-Day Enrollment Window


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Healthplanfinder today announced a limited special enrollment period for Washington state residents whose same-sex domestic partnerships were recently converted to marriages on June 30. The 60-day enrollment window provides these couples with a unique opportunity to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan before the next open enrollment period that starts on Nov. 15, 2014 for coverage beginning in 2015.

The recent change is a provision of the Washington State 2012 same-sex marriage law that automatically converted most domestic partnerships to marriage on June 30. The conversion is considered a "qualifying life event" that triggers a special enrollment period.

"It's important that same-sex couples whose domestic partnerships have been recently converted are aware of this special opportunity to access health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder," said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. "With the next open enrollment period more than four months away, this is a great chance for couples to explore their options and see if they qualify for financial help to pay for a Qualified Health Plan."

Residents whose same-sex domestic partnership has been converted to marriage on June 30 should take the following steps by Aug. 28 to apply for a special enrollment:

  • Complete an application on wahealthplanfinder.org
  • If you are eligible for a Qualified Health Plan, you will be prompted to complete a special enrollment questionnaire
  • Answer "yes" to the question about recently getting married

After completing the form, residents will be required to supply documentation that indicates the individual's state-registered domestic partnership has been converted, such as a marriage certificate or a printable/downloadable version of a couple's marriage status from the Secretary of State's State Registered Domestic Partnership Database. Documents will be reviewed by Exchange staff within two to three weeks.

In addition to converted domestic partnerships, all newlywed couples will be eligible to enroll outside of the standard open enrollment period if they complete an application within 60 days of getting married.

"The summer months are traditionally the most popular time of year for Washingtonians to get married," said Onizuka.  "Any newlywed same-sex or heterosexual couple can take advantage of the opportunity to find free or low-cost coverage outside of the standard open enrollment period."

Those who qualify for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) may enroll year-round, as well as American Indians/Alaskan Natives who are enrolled members of a federally recognized Tribe or an Alaska Native Corporation.

More information about same-sex domestic partnerships and special enrollment periods can be found here: http://wahbexchange.org/files/4314/0414/2250/Registered_Domestic_Partners_FAQs_140630_FINAL.pdf

For more information about Washington Healthplanfinder, please visit wahealthplanfinder.org.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is a new online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 15, 2014 for health insurance coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2015. The open enrollment period will extend through Feb. 15, 2015.

About the Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is a public-private partnership established in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) to implement a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small businesses. The Exchange is separate from the state and governed by an independent 11-member board. For more information, visit www.wahbexchange.org.

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