For Consumers

Individual health insurance market stabilization

Market stabilization

The Market Stabilization Project


Washington state's individual health insurance market has seen a trend of increasing premiums and insurance companies pulling back from offering health plans in certain counties. As a result, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange engaged the actuarial firm Wakely to do an analysis of state-based options to stabilize the individual market for 2019. The analysis focused on two reinsurance program options -- claims-based and conditions-based -- with additional consideration of options for bare counties and affordability programs for people buying health plans through the Exchange.

Goals of the project

  • Increasing affordability;

  • Assure no bare counties and promote consumer choice of health plans in all counties; and

  • Maximize the opportunity for federal funding.


In addition to these market options, we are considering 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. To help with this decision we have asked our contractor, Wakely, to do an additional analysis (PDF, 651KB) of a reinsurance program.

Next steps

  • OIC and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will present the report findings and talk next steps at a stakeholder meeting on Nov. 8, from 2-4 p.m. in the Legislative Bldg., Columbia Room.

  • In addition, the report's key findings will be presented to the Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Health Care Oversight on Nov. 15 in Olympia.