Mar 30, 2012
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed House Bill 2319 into law on March 26, creating a new health benefits exchange that provides one place for consumers to find and compare insurance plans. The bill, a major priority for the National MS Society, will help people with MS access affordable health insurance as it starts selling health insurance in the fall of 2013.
The exchange is a key centerpiece to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has several consumer friendly features as affordable plans, trained advisors, and guaranteed coverage due to the ACA’s ban on prohibitions for people with pre-existing conditions. Small businesses and individuals will be able to purchase health insurance plans on the exchange with the help of federal subsidies.
Representative Eileen Cody and Senator Karen Keiser – both strong supporters of the MS community - worked tirelessly this past session to move the bill forward and make sure it works for people living with MS and other chronic diseases. We are grateful for their leadership, along with that of Governor Gregoire, in helping more people get access to affordable insurance.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing challenges to the Affordable Care Act and is expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the law in June. In the meantime, MS Activists in Washington should be proud of the progress we are making to improve our health care system.
The National MS Society supported the bill along with other consumer groups in the Healthy Washington Coalition and will continue to follow the creation of the exchange as it becomes operational in the next few years.
For more information on our advocacy program and to learn how you can become involved, visit our advocacy webpage. To get more information about the Affordable Care Act and to learn how it will help people with MS, visit this site.