OLYMPIA – Fifteen health insurers filed an average proposed rate decrease of 1.79% for the 2021 individual health insurance market. This includes two new insurers — UnitedHealthcare of Oregon and Community Health Network of Washington — that are joining Washington’s market.
With 15 insurers in next year’s individual market, all 39 counties will have at least two insurers selling plans inside the exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. Ten insurers will sell plans outside of the exchange.
The proposed average rate decrease follows an average premium reduction of 3.25% for 2019 plans.
“Washington embraced the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and we’re seeing the continuing benefits today as we face the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Despite ongoing attacks from the Trump administration, the ACA’s reforms have helped create reliable access to quality health insurance for individuals and their families and a stable marketplace where insurers want to do business.”
Kreidler’s office will review all proposed health plans and rate changes over the next several months, with final decisions coming in the fall. Health insurers may adjust their requested rates and offerings as they re-evaluate their projections based on the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
These are the first filings under Washington’s new Cascade Care, which includes standardized plan designs and the country’s first public option health plan program. The state Health Care Authority is in charge of running the procurement for public option plans and will release information later this month.
Approximately 282,000 people who don’t get coverage from their employer must buy their own health insurance through the individual market, with most shopping on the exchange. Approximately 19,500 people enrolled during a special enrollment period from March 10 through May 8 that the Washington Health Benefit Exchange launched in response to the pandemic.
In Washington, 65% of people who buy plans on the Exchange qualify for subsidies that help lower their monthly premiums.
The Washington state Legislature enacted Cascade Care last year, creating new coverage options that will be available through the exchange during open enrollment starting Nov. 1 for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2021.