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Health insurers’ proposed rate changes are lowest in 7 years

OIC-rate-chart-13OLYMPIA (May 14, 2014) — Seventeen health insurers have filed more than 230 individual health plans for 2015 both inside and outside the Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. The average proposed rate change for the individual market is 8.25 percent. This represents the lowest requested average rate change in seven years.  The plans, provider networks, and rates are currently under review. Because the insurers have limited claims experience with these plans, they will have to use other data to justify any rate changes.

“I’m pleased to see the health insurers show an increased interest in the individual market and to see rates come in relatively low,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Consumers certainly deserve more choices, but we will scrutinize the proposed rate changes very carefully. It’s on the health insurers to justify any rate change and they know our review will be thorough and complete.”

Twelve insurers filed 114 individual health plans for sale inside the Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. If approved, the number of Exchange plans would increase from 46 to114. Eight insurers currently have plans inside the Exchange.

Also, 10 insurers filed 119 individual health plans for sale outside of the Exchange, raising the potential number of non-Exchange plans from 51 to 119. If all are approved, the number of insurers will stay the same. The total number of plans available may change during the review process.

WA_healthplanfinderAll proposed individual health plans and their rates must be reviewed within 60 days. The review may take longer if Kreidler’s office requests additional information. The Health Benefit Exchange selects the deadline for certifying all plans for sale in Washington Healthplanfinder. Once approved, all rates take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Once the final rates are approved, premium will vary depending on where someone lives, their age, whether or not they smoke, and which plan they select.


Proposed average rate changes by health insurer:

Health insurer Proposed average rate change Inside or outside the Exchange
Asuris Northwest Health 3.9% Outside
Bridgespan Health Company 1.7% Inside
Columbia United Providers New to the market Inside
Community Health Plan of Washington 8.4% Inside
Coordinated Care Corporation 11.2% Inside
Group Health Cooperative 11.2% Both
Group Health Options, Inc. 14.2% Outside
Health Alliance Northwest Health Plan, Inc. New to the market Inside
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest .57% Inside
LifeWise Health Plan of Washington 8.9% Both
Moda Health Plan, Inc. 0% Both
Molina Healthcare of Washington, Inc. -6.8% Inside
Premera Blue Cross 8.1% Both
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon 9.5% Outside
Regence BlueShield 5.1% Outside
Time Insurance Company 26% Outside
United Healthcare of Washington, Inc. New to the market Inside


Kreidler-Mike“The proposed rates are far from final,” said Kreidler. “The insurers have limited experience with these new plans so they’ll have to do their homework to justify any changes. Consumers have new options for shopping that they never had in the past. I trust that the insurers kept that in mind when they proposed these rates.”

See a chart showing the number of plans, broken down by metal level. A map showing options by county will be available later this year, once all of the plans are approved.

In addition, two health insurers have filed to sell in Washington Healthplanfinder Business, the Exchange small business market. Kaiser intends to continue selling plans in two counties, Clark and Cowlitz, and Moda intends to sell statewide.

Kreidler added, “We’ll be working closely with all of the insurers over the next several months to make sure we can get as many plans approved for both the small employer and individual markets as possible, but rates must be justified, provider networks must be adequate and the plans must deliver on their promises.”

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