For Consumers

Individual health insurance market stabilization

Market stabilization

Washington state's individual health insurance market is stable today, but it faces challenges - especially in the rural parts of the state. Commissioner Kreidler is looking at ways to make sure this market, which serves individuals and their families buying their own health insurance, stays stable during the coming years and in the face of federal uncertainty.

The Market Stabilization Project

Kreidler is looking at a number of market options to see if they could improve the stability of the individual health insurance market. Each option will be considered for whether or not it improves the affordability of premiums and out-of-pocket costs for consumers and if it helps encourage coverage in all counties, and especially in rural areas.

Market options include:

  • Creating a reinsurance program based on either claims or conditions 
  • Establishing a High Risk Pool
  • Creating a state-offered or public option
  • Creating a risk corridor program
  • Readdressing the current geographical rating areas

 An economic and actuarial analysis of the options will be conducted using data from insurers on their costs in the coming months to determine the best path forward. In order to collect the data from our insurers and keep it confidential, Kreidler requested HB 2222 (leg.wa.gov) which passed early this year.

In addition to these market options, Kreidler also will consider applying for a waiver from the federal government that would allow the state to reallocate current federal money to improve the stability of this market. This would require approval from the state legislature in 2018.