What To Know About Free Cobra Coverage
Many people prefer to keep their employers health insurance coverage when they lose their jobs, although the cost is often prohibitive. Most employers pay a large portion of the cost to cover workers, but former employees who opt to extend their coverage using the federal COBRA law typically must pay the full premium plus a 2% administrative fee.
Thanks to the new law, employers are required to provide free COBRA coverage from April 1 through Sept. 30 to eligible former employees who lost their healthcare coverage because of involuntary termination or a reduction in hours, says financial planner and certified public accountant Kelley Long , consumer financial education advocate for the American Institute of CPAs. The employers cost will be offset by federal tax credits.
If youre eligible for other group health coverage through a spouse, new employer or Medicare, for example you wont qualify for free COBRA.
The intention is to help people who have no other options and would otherwise be uninsured because they cant afford COBRA, Long says.
Normally you have 60 days after you lose your job to opt for COBRA coverage, which typically lasts a total of 18 months. If you missed that 60-day window, or signed up but then dropped coverage, you may have another opportunity to enroll. The new law extends the sign-up period so that people who lost their jobs during the pandemic can get the free coverage.
Estimate Your Own Wba
- Identify the two highest quarters in your base year.
- Key each total in the boxes below.
- Press “Calculate” to see how much you are potentially eligible to receive.
- To try again, press Clear and start over.
Keep in mind that this is just an estimate of your weekly benefit amount. Your actual weekly benefit amount may be different when you file your claim.
Your Options Depend On Your Household Income
When you apply for Marketplace coverage youll estimate your income for the current calendar year.
- How to estimate your income if youre unemployed
Its hard to predict your annual income if youre unemployed. Still, its important to make your best estimate based on all current or expected sources of income for the year.
Types of income to include on your application:
- Unemployment compensation that you receive from your state. Visit CareerOneStop’s Unemployment Benefits Finder for more information about unemployment in your state.
- All household members income
- Additional types of income, including interest income, capital gains, and alimony
- Most withdrawals from traditional IRAs and 401ks. for information on non-deductible contributions, and IRS Publication 590-B for information on Roth accounts.)
Note: Its very important to immediatelyupdate your income information with the Marketplace if your income changes during the year. This will ensure you get the right amount of savings based on your new annual income estimate.
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What Are Washingtons Medicare Options For Seniors And People With Disabilities
You have several options if youre of retirement age or living with a disability when it comes to health care. You can enroll in traditional Medicare, enroll in an Advantage plan, and sign up for Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplement plans to cover the cost of your medications and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Original Medicare consists of Parts A and B. Part A covers inpatient care, such as hospital stays, nursing care, and home health care while Part B covers outpatient procedures, preventative care, diagnostic testing, medical equipment, medical supplies, and medical transportation. The Medicare Part A premium and deductible for inpatient hospital stays is $1,556 in 2022, up from $1,484 in 2021. Medicare Part B enrollees pay a standard monthly premium of $170.10 for 2022, up from $148.50 in 2021.
- Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover everything offered under traditional Medicare but are run through insurance companies. You can add vision, dental, drug coverage, and more to these types of plans. There are 159 Washington Medicare Advantage plans in 2022.
- Medicare Part D offers multiple tiers of prescription drug coverage, and you can apply even if you have an Advantage plan.
- Medicare Supplement plans are useful if youre worried about your ability to cover your out-of-pocket expenses.
Filing Wage Reports And Paying Unemployment Taxes
Tax reports or tax and wage reports, and unemployment tax payments can be filed and paid through our free and efficient online systems, or by submitting our original paper forms.
Employer Account Management Services or EAMS for Single Filers can be used to file tax reports and wage reports online. You will need to set up your online account in advance.
ePay can be used to pay unemployment taxes online. Avoid last-minute setup or compatibility issues by taking time to get familiar with ePay before using it to pay unemployment taxes.
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New Unemployment Claims Dip In Washington State
New unemployment claims in Washington fell last week and the states unemployment rate dipped even as the nation as a whole saw a modest increase in the number of people seeking jobless benefits.
Washingtonians filed 12,958 new, or initial, claims last week, a 7.7% decrease from the previous week, the state Employment Security Department reported Thursday.
Washingtons unemployment rate fell to 6% in January, down from 7.1% in December, the ESD reported this week. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3% in January, down from 6.7% in December.
Still, the number of new claims filed in Washington was more than twice the level during the same week last year as the pandemic and related business restrictions continue to spur higher-than-normal layoffs.
Among the business sectors in the state that saw the largest number of new claims last week were construction, retail, accommodation and food services, and health care and social assistance.
The total number of weekly, or continuing, claims filed in Washington last week fell 0.4% from the prior week, to 440,927.
Last week, the ESD paid benefits on 315,399 individual claims, which was almost unchanged from the prior week. Because individuals can have multiple claims, the number of claims is often slightly higher than the number of individual claimants.
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Cobra Doesn’t Apply To Everyone
- COBRA applies only to employers who had 20 or more workers in the previous year.
- State and local governments fall under COBRA, but federal plans and certain religious organizations do not. Federal employees have some similar rights under another law. Ask your human resource department for more information.
- COBRA generally does not apply to employees who are terminated for gross misconduct.
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Learn About Reporting Unemployment Income
Many people in Washington are experiencing significant disruption in their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including loss of jobs and health coverage. You may have questions about entering income in Washington Healthplanfinder as your weekly benefits changes.
Keep your unemployment benefits up to date, to get the right amount of financial help. If you are eligible for premium tax credits and receive unemployment income for any week during 2021, you may be eligible for increased federal premium tax credits and lower out-of-pocket costs. With Washington Healthplanfinder at wahealthplanfinder.org or the mobile app WAPlanfinder, you can receive free help, apply or update your information for health coverage virtually. To get started or create an account to report changes and make other updates.
Tips on reporting your unemployment income
There are new types of income created by the American Rescue Plan Act passed by the US Congress in March 2021.More information on how to report these types of income is below.
How do I report these new incomes in Washington Healthplanfinder?
Medicaid Chip And Insurance Plans Through The Marketplace
When you fill out a Marketplace application, youll find out if you qualify for any of these types of coverage:
- A Marketplace insurance plan. You may qualify for premium tax credits and savings on deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket costs based on your household size and income. Some people with low incomes may wind up paying very small premiums. Learn about getting lower costs on a Marketplace insurance plan.
- Medicaid. Medicaid provides coverage to millions of Americans with limited incomes or disabilities. Many states have expanded Medicaid to cover all people below certain income levels. Learn more about Medicaid and how to apply.
- Childrens Health Insurance Program . CHIP provides coverage for children, and in some states pregnant women, in families with incomes too high for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance. Learn more about CHIP.
After you finish your Marketplace application, youll get an eligibility determination that tells you what kind of coverage you and others in your household qualify for.
How Do I Pay
You pay for coverage with pretax dollars from your paycheck under the state’s premium payment plan. That means unless you request otherwise, premiums and applicable premium surcharges are automatically deducted from your paycheck before taxes are taken out.
To comply with a federal or state mandate, your employer may also remove you from the premium payment plan, with notice, to prevent excess tax deferral.
Paid Time Off Peace Of Mind
Paid Family and Medical Leave lets you take paid time off when you need it most, offering stability and peace of mind so you can focus on what matters.
Find out more at paidleave.wa.gov.
Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds
The Ombuds is appointed by the governor and serves as an independent third-party to help workers and employers in their dealings with the program. The Office of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Ombuds is a neutral, independent third party and maintains full autonomy from the department. For more information on their role or to ask for their assistance, visit the Ombuds website.
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Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Benefit: Extends unemployment benefits for those currently receiving PEUC. The extension is from March 14, 2021 to September 6, 2021. PEUC payments will continue to be sent from the Employment Security Department .
Do I report this in Washington Healthplanfinder?
- All customers should continue to include this unemployment benefit income in Washington Healthplanfinder.
- This amount is listed on EServices as the base weekly benefit amount. Instructions on how to find this amount are below.
Washington Unemployment Benefits And Eligibility
- Learn about Washington stateâs eligibility requirements for unemployment, and discover the benefits you can receive while youâre looking for a new job.
Unemployment assistance is designed to help you cover expenses when youâre between jobs. In Washington state, the Employment Security Department manages unemployment claims and benefits. If youâre planning to make a claim, make sure you meet the requirements a complete, accurate application can help you get funds faster.
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Difference Between Cascade Care And Cascade Select Plans
A Cascade Care plan has a standard benefit design that emphasizes lower deductibles and providing access to services before having to pay the deductible. Customers can make apples to apples comparisons across different insurance carriers because the benefits are the same.
Cascade Care offers health insurance coverage options on the individual market through Washingtons Healthplanfinder .
A Cascade Select plan is Washingtons public option and has the same standard benefit design, along with additional requirements, such as:
- Incorporating community quality standards
- Ensuring aggregate limits on provider reimbursement
These standards help increase access to high-value care at a lower cost.
Timeline Of Unemployment Insurance Program In Washington
The following timeline features selected key events in the history of Washington’s unemployment insurance program. The timeline is not a comprehensive history of the state unemployment insurance program.
- 1938: As of May 1, 1938, Washington’s unemployment insurance program offered a maximum weekly benefit amount of $15 for up to 16 weeks.
- 1985: As of January 1, 1985, Washington’s unemployment insurance program offered a maximum WBA of $185 for up to 30 weeks.
- 2021: A March 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Labor found that the trust funds in 40 states and territories, including Washington, had dropped below the recommended minimum solvency standard as of January 1, 2021.
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Did Not Work In Washington State
You cannot apply for unemployment benefits in Washington or file weekly claims here if you did not work in this state during the past 18 months. The only exceptions are if you were in the military or worked for the federal government.
You must file your claim with one of the state where you worked in the last 18 months. Contact each state where you worked to find out your claim options for those states.
What Happens If Unemployment Claims In Washington Are Denied
If youâre denied unemployment, you can appeal it within 30 days through your eServices account. If you prefer a mail or fax appeal, follow the instructions on your denial letter. Continue to file weekly claims during the appeals process.
If the ESD changes its decision, youâll get a notice by mail. Otherwise, theyâll send the appeal to the Washington Office of Administrative Hearings . An official will schedule a phone hearing or a Brief Adjudicative Proceeding, and the judge will make a decision. After that, youâll have one final opportunity to appeal you can find instructions on the OAH order.
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Understanding An Employer Identification Number
Just as the Social Security Number is used to identify the individual residents of the United States, the EIN is issued to identify the business entities in the country. The EIN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the IRS and includes information about the state in which the corporation is registered.
Unlike the SSN, the EIN is not considered sensitive information and is freely distributed by many businesses through publications and the internet.
The digits of an EIN are formatted as follows: XX-XXXXXXX. The IRS uses the EIN to identify taxpayers that are required to file various business tax returns.
Business entities looking to operate in the U.S. must apply for an EIN by phone, online, fax, or by mail. All forms of businesses can apply for and be issued EINs, entities such as limited liability companies , sole proprietorships, non-profit organizations, government agencies, S corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts, etc. Furthermore, the IRS is not biased towards the size of the company as a company with only one employee is as eligible for an EIN as a multinational corporation.
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Insurance For Families In Washington
Shopping for family coverage is more difficult because your own medical needs and history is only a part of the bigger picture. You might be healthy and dont need to see doctors or specialists regularly, but your family members may suffer from chronic medical conditions. When this is the case, you need to balance the monthly cost of your plan, your family deductible, and the amount of coverage you receive so that your total cost of healthcare is lower.
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How To Apply For Unemployment Benefits
The best and fastest way to apply is online. You can apply by phone, but not in person. At this time, you cannot apply in person. The steps below will guide you through the process.
Get ready to apply
Reasonable accommodation. Information on reasonable accommodation is available for unemployment benefits customers with disabilities.
How Do I Apply
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.
- You should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.
- Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
- When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
- It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check.
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Coronavirus Aid Relief And Economic Security Act
The U.S. House of Representatives on March 27, 2020, passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act to provide financial relief to individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump signed the legislation on March 27. Among the provisions in the act, Congress earmarked roughly $260 billion to expand unemployment insurance benefits across the country. The act supplemented state unemployment insurance payments by increasing the number of weeks an individual could receive benefits and by providing individuals with an additional $600 per week on top of what they would normally receive.
How To Qualify For Aca Subsidies
The expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies is retroactive to Jan. 1 and will continue through Dec. 31, 2022. People must purchase their insurance from Healthcare.gov or their states ACA exchange to qualify for subsidies. (Washington state residents can go to the Washington Healthplanfinder website at wahealthplanfinder.org. The act also created a new special enrollment period that extends through Aug . 15, 2021.
Some people still dont qualify for subsidies, including most people with incomes above 600% of the poverty line, undocumented immigrants, people who have offers of employer-provided health insurance thats considered affordable, and certain low-income people in states that havent expanded Medicaid coverage.
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