Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Health Care & Wellness Committee

HB 1321

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Declaring the intent for all Washingtonians to have health care coverage by 2020.

Sponsors: Representatives Robinson, Ryu, Cody, Riccelli, Farrell, S. Hunt, Fitzgibbon, Carlyle, Tharinger, Goodman, Ortiz-Self, Bergquist, Dunshee, Moscoso, Appleton, Sells, Pollet, Reykdal, Walkinshaw, Jinkins, Senn, Wylie, Ormsby, Lytton, Hudgins, Tarleton, Moeller, Sawyer, Fey, Gregerson and Stanford.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • States legislative findings related to health care coverage and affordability.

  • States legislative intent that all Washington residents have accessible, affordable, and comprehensive health care coverage by 2020.

Hearing Date: 2/20/15

Staff: Alexa Silver (786-7190).


Health Benefit Exchange Plans.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an individual who enrolls in a qualified health plan through a health benefit exchange may be eligible for a premium tax credit if his or her household income is 100 to 400 percent of the poverty line and he or she is not eligible for minimum essential coverage (e.g., through Medicaid or an employer-sponsored plan). Individuals who are eligible for the premium tax credit may have the credit paid in advance directly to the issuer to lower their premiums.

The ACA specifies four categories of health plans to be offered through the Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) and in the individual and small group markets outside the Exchange. The categories are based on the percentage of the costs the plan is expected to pay, ranging from bronze plans that cover 60 percent of the actuarial value of the plan's benefits to platinum plans that cover 90 percent of the actuarial value of the plan's benefits.

An employer with fewer than 25 full-time employees may be eligible for a federal tax credit if the employer pays an average wage of less than $50,000 and pays premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in plans through the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange.

Medicaid Expansion.

Medicaid is a health care program for qualifying low-income and needy people, including children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. The program is a federal-state partnership established under the federal Social Security Act and implemented at the state level with federal matching funds. Each state program must establish a plan that meets specified requirements mandated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Washington exercised its option under the ACA to expand Medicaid to include individuals between the ages of 19 and 64 with family incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Summary of Bill:

The Legislature finds that:

It is the Legislature's intent that all Washington residents have accessible, affordable, and comprehensive health care coverage by 2020.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.