For Consumers

Individual health insurance market stabilization

Market stabilization

Stabilizing Washington's individual health insurance market


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 hired 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.


Based on the results, Commissioner Kreidler is proposing legislation to create a state-based reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market. In addition, he is requesting authority to seek a 1332 Waiver from the federal government to help pay for the program.


SB 6062/ HB 2355 (

Goals of a reinsurance program

  • Increasing affordability of individual health insurance;

  • 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 working on 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

  • Submit legislation to create a state-based reinsurance program and gain authority to seek a Section 1332 Waiver.
  • Once legislation passes, submit the Section 1332 Waiver to the federal government.