September 8, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has approved 46 individual health plans from seven insurers who will offer them in the Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org), for sale in 2017. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify the approved insurers and their plans at its board meeting later today.
Regence Blueshield also filed 21 plans for sale in the Exchange and Bridgespan filed 31 plans. Both companies’ filings and rates are still under review. They must be approved by the OIC before they can be considered for certification by the Exchange.
Insurers selling in Washington’s individual market requested an average 13.5 percent increase. The average approved rate for insurers selling in the Exchange is 13.1 percent. The final average rate change and number of plans by county will be available next month when the OIC’s review is complete.
An individual’s premium will depend on where they live, their age, which plan they select, and whether or not they qualify for a subsidy.
Also, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest has been approved to sell 11 small employer plans through the Exchange’s small business program, Washington Healthplanfinder Business.
“We carefully reviewed all of the plans to make sure that any change was justified,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “It’s very hard to see premiums increase and I understand the impact this has on individuals and their families.”
“We’re only in the third year of the Affordable Care Act and insurers have limited experience to base their rates on,” he added. “The decisions we made early on to expand Medicaid and to not allow the sale of canceled plans are helping us avoid the rate spikes many other states are experiencing. I believe that as insurers better understand the market and more people get coverage, we’ll see premiums stabilize.”
2017 insurers with plans approved to be certified by the Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org):
- Community Health Plan of Washington
- Coordinated Care Corporation
- Group Health Cooperative
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
- Lifewise Health Plan of Washington
- Molina Healthcare of Washington
- Premera Blue Cross
“The Affordable Care Act has helped thousands of people in our state get access to health insurance,” said Kreidler. “But there’s much more that needs to be done to fix the longstanding issues with our country’s health care system, including addressing affordability.”
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