Number of health plans being offered by state will nearly double this next year

OLYMPIA - The Office of Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler earlier this week approved 10 health insurers to sell 82 individual health plans inside Washington’s Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, next year.

Last year, eight health insurers were approved to sell 46 plans through Washington Healthplanfinder.

“We’re thrilled to see the number of available health plan options has doubled in one short year,” said Richard Onizuka, Chief Exec-utive Officer for Washington Healthplanfinder.

“Not only will these additional coverage options increase consumer choice, they will also foster competition among our participating health insurance companies,” Onizuka said.

On another front that pleased state officials, the average rate change increase that was approved this week for next year is just 1.9 percent, significantly lower than the insurance companies’ original request of 8.6 percent.

“Changes brought about largely by the Affordable Care Act are making health care costs less expensive for Washingtonians,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.

“States like Washington that are implementing the Act as written are seeing the lowest rate (increases) in decades - projected at 1.9 percent for 2015.

“I only wish other states that neglected needed changes in our health care system would fully adopt the Affordable Care Act so their residents could get the same benefits as Washingtonians - high quality affordable care,” Inslee added.

Kreidler said he takes the increased interest from health insurers this year as a clear sign that health reform is working.

“Consumers will have two more insurers to choose from next year, nearly double the number of health plans, and a record low rate change,” said the state’s insurance commissioner.

“I’m very proud of how we’ve implemented health reform in Washington state,” said Kreidler.

“It hasn’t always been easy, but these numbers show that the Affordable Care Act clearly delivered on its promise to bring people better access to affordable, quality health insurance,” Kreidler said.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board yesterday (Thursday) provided final certification of the qualified health plans to be offered through Washington Healthplanfinder during the second open enrollment period (Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015).


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