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Affordable Health Insurance in Washington

Difficult economic times that are producing an increase in the cost of living, an increase in unemployment and a substantial increase in the cost of health care, make shopping for affordable health insurance in Washington a necessity. Health care insurance is a must. The inability to pay for medical expenses is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the state of Washington. You need a safety net, but it must be affordable. Hopefully, the information below will help you as you shop for Washington health insurance.The Cost of Affordable Health Insurance in Washington The average cost of an individual health insurance plan in Washington in 2009 was $4,923. For a family plan, you can expect to spend nearly $13,000 over the course of a year. These numbers represent some of the highest insurance costs in the nation, rivaling those in the northeast section of the U.S. More bad news is that the cost of health insurance in Washington has risen nearly 40 percent over the past 6 years and is expected to continue. Facing these odds, it is now more important than ever to take some time to shop around for the best rates.Affordable Health Insurance in Washington: Your RightsYou have rights and protections as a consumer and resident of the state of Washington. The Washington Patient’s Bill of Rights ensures that you receive timely and sufficient health care; that you have adequate choice of health care providers, and that you have recourse in the form of appealing decisions regarding your health care plan. In addition, there are additional rights for women. Washington’s Direct Access Law provides special rights for women which require health insurance companies to provide an adequate list of health care providers, inform you of available women’s medical services, and remove all barriers that may prevent you from getting the medical care you require.State-Sponsored Options for Affordable Health Insurance in Washington The state of Washington offers a variety of options for low income families and individuals to acquire affordable health care insurance. Washington Basic Health is one such option. Your income must fall between 0 and 200 percent of the Federal income guidelines as well as meet a few other requirements to be eligible. The Washington Health Program is another option for those having trouble finding health care coverage. The goal of the program is to provide affordable health care to Washington residents and has been in action since 1993. Finally, there is a Washington state high risk pool for residents who cannot qualify for private health insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions. To learn more about these options you can visit the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.Tips for Affordable Health Insurance in WashingtonThere are, of course, a few tips you can implement to help lower your Washington health insurance premiums. Taking good care of yourself is the first order of business. Washingtonians are among the healthiest residents in the U.S. as the state was ranked as the 11 healthiest state in 2009. If you are currently not among the group of healthy residents, then take the initiative to change your daily habits. Cut out smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, eat more healthy and make a continuous effort to exercise regularly. Other steps you can take to reduce costs are to increase your deductibles and co-pays on your health care plan and try to stay with the same insurance provider as many reward loyalty. Finally, take the time to get rate quotes to compare prices. You will never know if you have the most affordable health insurance in Washington if you don’t compare rates.