Submitted by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Eleven health insurers filed 74 health plans for Washington state’s individual market and all 39 Washington counties will be covered in 2019.
Only one insurance provider has offered to sell plans inside and outside of the state health care exchange in San Juan County in 2019: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, formerly known as Group Health Cooperative. This is the same insurance option offered for individual plans last year in the county.
Health insurers proposed a 19 percent average rate increase for Washington’s individual market. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, however, proposed a 29.78 percent rate increase, which is the highest of all the proposals.
About 300,000 people in Washington buy their own individual health insurance coverage. Most work for employers who don’t offer health insurance, are self-employed or are early retirees.
View the complete list of proposed insurance providers per county at www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2019-proposed-individual-market-health-plans-by-county.pdf. View the proposed rate increases at www.insurance.wa.gov/news/health-insurers-propose-19-percent-average-rate-increase-washingtons-individual-market.
Last year, two counties – Klickitat and Grays Harbor – initially had no option for individual health insurance. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler reached out to the insurers to see if any would reconsider, and Premera Blue Cross stepped in to cover Grays Harbor County and Bridgespan and Molina covered Klickitat County. This year, Premera made assurances it was prepared to offer coverage should any county be without an individual health insurer for 2019.
“We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing consumers in every county who need coverage will have access to a health plan in 2019,” said Kreidler. “Obviously, how much premiums may change and any increases to out-of-pocket costs are still key concerns, but I’m grateful that we can assure people that coverage is available, regardless of where they live.”
All proposed rates, health plans and coverage areas are under review and may change. Once Kreidler’s review is complete, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify plans for sale through Washington Healthplanfinder on Sept. 13. Open enrollment for the 2019 individual market starts Nov. 1.