COFA Islander Health Care program

Revised Date: 
January 3, 2019

Compact of Free Association (COFA) Islander Health Care is a state-funded sponsorship program offered by the Health Care Authority (HCA). HCA pays the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses under a silver level Qualified Health Plan for eligible COFA islanders. The program serves COFA islanders which includes people from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

COFA islanders are only eligible for federally funded Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) if they are under age 19 or pregnant. They may also be eligible for limited medical coverage if the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) determines them to be incapacitated or under the Alien Emergency Medical (AEM) program.

WAC 182-524-0100 General.

Revised November 1, 2018

Compact of Free Association (COFA) islander health care is a state-funded program administered by the health care authority (the agency) to pay the monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for silver level qualified health plans for eligible COFA islanders.

For the purpose of this chapter, "our," "us," and "we" refer to the agency or the agency's designee and "you" refers to the applicant for, or recipient of, COFA islander health care.

You have the right to appeal any adverse agency action regarding COFA islander health care as described in chapter 182-526 WAC.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 182-524-0200 Definitions.

Revised November 1, 2018

This section defines terms used in this chapter. See chapter 182-500 WAC for additional definitions.

"Advance premium tax credit (APTC)" - A tax credit taken in advance to lower a monthly health insurance payment (or premium).

"COFA islander" – A person who is a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau.

"COFA islander health care" – An agency-administered program that pays the premium and out-of-pocket costs for a silver level qualified health plan for eligible COFA islanders.

"Compact of Free Association (COFA)" – A legal agreement between the government of the United States and the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia (U.S. Pub. L. 108-188); the Republic of the Marshall Islands (U.S. Pub. L. 108-188); and the Republic of Palau (U.S. Pub. L. 99-658).

"Cost-sharing funds" – Agency-provided funds for out-of-pocket costs.

"Out-of-pocket costs" – Copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and other cost-sharing requirements imposed under a qualified health plan for services, pharmaceuticals, devices, and other health benefits covered by the plan and rendered as in-network. Excludes premiums, balance billing amounts for out-of-network providers, and spending for noncovered services.

"Premium cost" – A person's premium for a qualified health plan, minus the amount of the person's advanced premium tax credit.

"Silver level qualified health plan (QHP)" – Silver level indicates the category of a qualified health plan (QHP) offered by the Washington health benefit exchange (HBE). For a definition of QHP, see WAC 182-500-0090.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 182-524-0300 Eligibility.

Revised November 1, 2018

In order to be eligible for state-funded COFA islander health care, you must enroll in a silver level qualified health plan (QHP) through the Washington health benefit exchange (HBE) during open enrollment or when you qualify for a special enrollment period as described in 45 C.F.R. 155.410 and 45 C.F.R. 155.420.

  1. You are eligible for state-funded COFA islander health care administered by us no earlier than January 1, 2019, if you:
    1. Are a COFA islander;
    2. Meet the residency requirements as described under WAC 182-524-0400;
    3. Have household income, as defined under 26 C.F.R. 1.36B-1(e), under one hundred thirty-three percent of the federal poverty level (FPL);
    4. Do not qualify for another federal or state medical assistance program as described under chapter 74.09 RCW, which provides minimum essential coverage such as Washington apple health for adults;
    5. Qualify for, and accept, the maximum advance premium tax credit available under 45 C.F.R. 155.305(f); and
    6. Enroll in a silver level QHP.
  2. Eligibility for COFA islander health care is subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose.
  3. You may be disenrolled from COFA islander health care if you:
    1. Do not meet the eligibility criteria under subsection (1) of this section;
    2. Fail to remain enrolled in a silver level QHP; or
    3. Withdraw your application or request a termination of coverage.
  4. You may be disqualified from COFA islander health care if you:
    1. Perform an act, practice, or omission that constitutes fraud, and an insurer rescinds your QHP policy; or
    2. Use your COFA islander health care cost-sharing funds to purchase anything other than out-of-pocket costs.
  5. Your COFA islander health care begins the first day of the month you meet the eligibility requirements as described in subsection (1) of this section.
  6. Your COFA islander health care ends the day your enrollment in a silver level QHP ends or the last day of the month your COFA islander health care eligibility ends, whichever is earlier.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 182-524-0400 Residency requirements.

Revised November 1, 2018

  1. This section applies only to residency requirement for COFA islander health care.
  2. A resident is a person who currently lives in Washington and:
    1. Intends to reside here, including people without a fixed address; or
    2. Entered the state looking for a job; or
    3. Entered the state with a job commitment.
  3. You do not need to live in the state for a specific period of time to meet the requirements in subsection (1) of this section.
  4. You can be temporarily out-of-state and remain on COFA islander health care if you:
    1. Intend to return once the purpose of your absence concludes; and
    2. Meet the eligibility requirements as described under WAC 182-524-0300.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 182-524-0500 Notice requirements.

Revised November 1, 2018

  1. This section applies only to notices and letters that we send regarding COFA islander health care.
  2. We send you written notices (letters) when we:
    1. Approve you for COFA islander health care;
    2. Deny you for COFA islander health care;
    3. Change or terminate your eligibility from COFA islander health care; and
    4. Ask you for more information.
  3. All written notices we send to you include:
    1. The date of the notice;
    2. Specific contact information for you if you have questions or need help with the notice;
    3. The nature of the action;
    4. The effective date of the action;
    5. The facts and reasons for the action;
    6. Your appeal rights, if an appeal is available; and
    7. Other information required by the state.
  4. If we request information from you, we allow at least ten calendar days for you to submit requested information.
    1. If the due date falls on a weekend or a legal holiday as described in RCW 1.16.050, the due date is the next business day.
    2. We do not deny or terminate your eligibility when we ask you to provide information.
    3. If we do not receive your information by the due date, we make a determination based on all the information available.
  5. We send a written notice to you at least ten days before taking any adverse action. The ten day notice period starts on the day we send the notice.
  6. We may send a notice fewer than ten days before the date of the action if:
    1. You request the action;
    2. You request termination;
    3. A change in statute, federal regulation, or administrative rule is the sole cause of the action;
    4. You are incarcerated and expect to remain incarcerated at least thirty days;
    5. Mail sent to you is returned without a forwarding address and we do not have a more current address for you;
    6. You move out-of-state;
    7. You move to a county where your current silver level qualified health plan (QHP) is not available and you fail to select a new plan;
    8. You are eligible for medicare;
    9. You die;
    10. You begin receiving other state or federal medical assistance, which provides minimum essential coverage; or
    11. Your silver level QHP is closed.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 182-524-0600 Payments.

Revised November 1, 2018

  1. We pay your silver level qualified health plan (QHP) premium costs directly to the QHP carrier unless we determine good cause exists to reimburse you for the premium costs.
  2. We pay your mandatory out-of-pocket costs separate from your premium costs through cost-sharing funds.
  3. Cost-sharing funds are only for your out-of-pocket costs.
  4. We will not pay for, or reimburse you for, costs not considered as out-of-pocket costs or expenses incurred by people not covered under COFA islander health care.
  5. You are responsible for ensuring the services you receive are covered under your QHP and rendered as in-network.
  6. We may stop payments of your silver level QHP premium costs and your cost-sharing funds when you:
    1. Fail to provide verification of payments through us or an agency-contracted vendor;
    2. Fail to respond to a request for information from us or an agency-contracted vendor;
    3. Misuse your cost-sharing funds by:
      1. Purchasing anything not considered an out-of-pocket cost; or
      2. Allowing another person access to your cost-sharing funds.
    4. Are no longer eligible for COFA islander health care as described under WAC 182-524-0300.
  7. You must follow the requirements of any agency-contracted vendor that provides services enabling you to access your cost-sharing funds.
  8. We monitor payments and cost-sharing transactions under COFA islander health care.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

How can COFA Islander Health Care help?

  • By paying for your monthly insurance premium you can have access to essential health benefits such as doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, preventive services, etc.
  • By providing you the funds to pay your out-of-pocket expenses such as copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.  

Do I qualify for COFA Islander Health Care?

You may be eligible for COFA Islander Health Care if you:

  • Are a COFA islander
  • Have income less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)
  • Live in Washington
  • Enroll into a silver level Qualified Health Plan through the Health Benefit Exchange
  • Agree to file federal taxes (even if you do not meet tax filing requirements)
  • If you are married, agree to file taxes jointly with your spouse
  • Are not receiving other federal or state medical coverage, including affordable employer-sponsored insurance, Medical Care Services, Medicare, etc.

How do I apply for COFA Islander Health Care?

How do I file an Appeal?

To qualify for COFA Islander Health Care, you must first qualify for a silver level qualified health plan with tax credits through the Healthplanfinder. If you are not eligible for a qualified health plan with tax credits and you want to appeal that decision, do one of the following:

  • Email: appeals@wahbexchange.org
  • Phone: 1-855-859-2512
  • Mail: Washington Health Benefit Exchange
    ATTN: Legal Division
    PO Box 1757
    Olympia, WA 98507

If you are eligible for and enrolled in a qualified health plan with tax credits but are not eligible for COFA Islander Health Care, you can appeal this decision to us by doing one of the following:

  • Mail: Health Care Authority
    PO Box 45531
    Olympia, WA 98504-5531
  • Phone: 1-800-562-3022 or 1-800-547-3109

How can I contact COFA Islander Health Care or find more information?