Higher Health Insurance Rates Coming

Health insurance

OLYMPIA, Wash. –  Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler approved seven health insurers to sell 40 health plans for 2019 in Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s health insurance exchange. The average approved rate increase for insurers that sell inside the Exchange is 13.8 percent. Plans will be available in all counties. Insurers initially requested a 19.8 percent rate increase.

“The fact that we’ve been able to lower some of the insurers’ rate requests after our review will be welcome news for consumers,” said Kreidler.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange board is scheduled to certify the approved plans at its Sept. 13 meeting.

“The individual market is still vulnerable and I recognize many people struggle to afford coverage – especially if they don’t receive a subsidy,” Kreidler said. “We’re doing what we can to hold down costs, but it’s a struggle. Insurers need stability and we’re still facing inaction at the federal level as well as targeted hits on the Affordable Care Act that increase the uncertainty.”

The remaining individual market plans–those sold outside the Exchange–are still under review by Kreidler’s office. Once all of the plans and rates are approved, Kreidler will release the average rate increase for the entire individual market and a list of insurers that will sell in each county.

2019 approved rate changes for insurers selling through Washington’s Exchange

Exchange health insurer Requested average rate change Approved average rate change Number of counties
BridgeSpan Health Co. 0.89% 0.30% 5
Coordinated Care Corp. 14.23% 14.37% 19
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest 14.44% 14.03% 2
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington 29.78% 18.61% 19
LifeWise Health Plan of Washington 6.39% 6.51% 12
Molina Healthcare of Washington 10.73% 7.18% 12
Premera Blue Cross 5.49% 2.18% 14

How much someone will pay for coverage depends on several factors:

  • The plan they choose
  • Whether they qualify for financial help
  • Where they live
  • Their age
  • Whether they smoke
  • How many family members are covered and their age(s)

More than 60 percent of the 207,000 people who purchase health insurance through the Exchange receive a subsidy to help lower their premiums.

Open enrollment for the 2019 individual and family health insurance market is Nov. 1 – Dec. 15, 2018.

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Steve Hair
Steve Hair is a 40-year veteran broadcast journalist who comes to NCW LIFE TV after a long career in radio. Steve and his wife Lynette and their three sons moved to the Wenatchee Valley from Central California in 1992. Steve served as News Director for KPQ News where he covered a multitude of stories of importance to North Central Washington, including two of Washington State’s largest wildfires. During his radio career Steve has received many awards from organizations such as the Associated Press, (Sacramento and Seattle Bureaus) The Washington State Farm Bureau, and the California Medical Association. Steve is a sports addict. Time off usually finds him sprawled out on the couch watching the Seahawks, Mariners or anything that prevents him from doing house chores.