Washington State

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Preview available 2023 health plans ahead of open enrollment

Shop new savings available to you in 2023 before open enrollment begins on Nov. 1

Washingtonians can start to shop, compare, and find new savings opportunities on Washington Healthplanfinder prior to the beginning of open enrollment. Now through Oct. 30, individuals and families can visit wahealthplanfinder.org to preview their 2023 plan options and sign up for a reminder email when open enrollment is open — Nov. 1, 2022, through Jan. 15, 2023.

“Plan preview allows Washingtonians added time to learn about the health plans and savings available to them prior having to make a final decision,” interim CEO Jim Crawford said. “This year, there are more savings available than ever before with the introduction of Cascade Care Savings.”

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

New state savings available for 2023 provide an unprecedented opportunity to get covered Olympia, WA

More than 40% of Washingtonians who get their health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder could receive brand new state-funded premium subsidies when enrolling in coverage for 2023. To get these new savings — called Cascade Care Savings — customers can newly sign up for, or switch to, a qualifying plan during open enrollment starting Nov. 1.

Building upon high-quality Cascade Care plans introduced in 2021, Cascade Care Savings is for Washingtonians making up to 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) — generally low-wage and part-time workers. These savings are available exclusively through Cascade Care Silver and Gold plans offered on Washington Healthplanfinder.

Washington State

Back in May, Washington State was among the first to post their preliminary 2023 avg. individual market rate changes. At the time, there were 14 insurance carriers potentially offering 2023 plans, with a weighted average rate increase of around 7.2%.

Today, the Washington State insurance commissioner has posted a press release with final/approved 2023 premium rate changes, and the weighted average is actually a point higher (8.2%).

There's a caveat: Only 12 of the 14 carriers participating in the WA individual market are included; the other two, which are selling ACA plans off-exchange only, are still under review. However, those two carriers only make up around 0.6% of the total market, so that doesn't impact the overall average by more than a negligible amount.

State regulators have reduced the 2023 rates a bit from the original requests for some carriers (Bridgespan, Coordinated Care, Regence) but have increased them for others (Kaiser Foundation, LifeWise, Molina, Premera). A couple were kept pretty much identical to what the carriers had requested:

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

FTC action against Benefytt results in refunds for consumers who bought insufficient plansOlympia, WA

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) is opening a special enrollment period until Nov. 10, 2022, for 232 Washingtonians who were sold an insufficient healthcare plan from Benefytt Technologies.

Benefytt must contact customers who are currently paying for Benefytt’s plans, inform them of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint against the company, and allow them to cancel their enrollment. Benefytt also must provide refunds for payments made after the order is entered directly to customers who cancel right away.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Washington Health Benefit Exchange interim CEO Jim Crawford issued the following statement regarding today’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a three-year extension of the enhanced federal premium subsidies currently available to Washingtonians who purchase their health coverage on Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. These additional subsidies were first adopted under the American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) of 2021.

“We are incredibly pleased that Washington Healthplanfinder customers will continue to benefit from enhanced federal subsidies through the end of 2025. These subsidies have been a major driver in reducing premium payments for those purchasing health insurance and provide needed relief to those buying and renewing coverage in November for the 2023 plan year, who would have otherwise faced steep premium increases.

Washington State

I don't write about specific state insurance commissioners very often. The main ones which come to mind are:

In all three cases, the commissioners in question were Republicans.

Washington State

via the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner:

Fourteen insurers request average 7.16% rate increase for 2023 individual health insurance market

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Fourteen health insurers filed an average requested rate increase of 7.16% for Washington's individual health insurance market. The plans and proposed rates are currently under review and final decisions will be made this fall.

"More than two hundred thousand people in Washington state get their health coverage through our individual market,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “It’s critical they have choices for meaningful and affordable coverage. Fourteen insurers have filed plans for next year, and while the choices vary depending on where you live, our market is thriving. I know that premiums and cost-sharing are still high for many, especially those who don’t qualify for subsidies, and we need to do more to address the underlying costs drivers of health care.”

Washington State

One of the most inane restrictions of the ACA in my view, as I noted in my "If I Ran the Zoo" wish list back in 2017, is that it doesn't allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in ACA marketplace health plans ("Qualified Health Plans" or QHPs).

I don't just mean that they aren't eligible for federal financial subsidies--that's a prohibition which I can at least understand, even if I don't agree with it. I mean that they aren't allowed to enroll in ACA exchange-based QHPs even at full price, as noted in Section 1312(f)(3):

(3) Access limited to lawful residents.--If an individual is not, or is not reasonably expected to be for the entire period for which enrollment is sought, a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States, the individual shall not be treated as a qualified individual and may not be covered under a qualified health plan in the individual market that is offered through an Exchange.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington HealthPlan Finder:

Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), today announced that she will be stepping down from guiding the state’s health insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, an organization she has served for nearly 10 years.  She has held the role of CEO for more than six years.

The move will be effective as of June and the Exchange Board will be appointing an interim CEO in the coming weeks.

“It has been the capstone of my career to serve the people of Washington as CEO of the Exchange,” said MacEwan.  “What we have been able to accomplish in my time at the Exchange has been nothing short of remarkable. Given the strength of our organization, I feel that now is the right time. The Exchange has emerged as an innovative leader in health care and is poised to continue to break new ground in bringing access to health to all Washingtonians.”

Washington HealthPlan Finder

Washington State's ACA exchange, the WA Healthplanfinder, released their 2022 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) report yesterday:

  • 240,000 Washingtonians signed up for coverage; Cascade Care enrollment more than doubled in year two

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) released today its initial 2022 open enrollment data. A record 240,000 Washingtonians signed up for 2022 coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. This represents an increase of more than 6% over 2021.

The exact number was included in last week's announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): 239,566 Qualified Health Plans (QHPs).