I should note up front that despite the snarky headline, this is actually good news on the whole, and Premera does deserve some credit for it since part of the $250 million they refer to below is voluntary on their part.
Premera Blue Cross, the sole carrier offering ACA exchange individual market policies throughout the entire state of Alaska, and one of the major carriers on the indy market in Washington State, posted this press release today:
Premera Announces $250 Million Investment In Customers and Community
Mountlake Terrace, Wash. — (March 12, 2018) — Premera Blue Cross, a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, today announced $250 million in investments over five years across Washington and Alaska to help stabilize the individual market, improve access to care in rural areas and support local communities in their efforts to address the behavioral health issues impacting their residents.
Kreidler announces intention to being rulemaking on short-term medical plans
March 6, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced his intention today to begin rule-making to create protections for Washington consumers who buy short-term medical plans. He is taking this action in response to the recent rules the Trump administration proposed to increase the duration of short-term medical plans from 90 days to up to 364 days.
In a statement last week, Kreidler shared his concerns about short-term medical plans:
Now that the 2018 Open Enrollment period is officially over in every state +DC, I've started compiling more detailed demographic breakouts of the data on a state-by-state basis. The official CMS report from the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation (ASPE) report should be released at some point in the next couple of weeks, but until then, I'll have to settle for whatever reports I can patch together from some of the state-based exchanges.
So far I've dug up final (or near final) data for six states: Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State. Collectively, these states only represent about 890,000 2018 exchange enrollees, or roughly 7.5% of the 11.8 million total, so I have no idea how representative they are nationally, but it's all I have to work with for the moment.
Washington Healthplanfinder Closes Open Enrollment with Record 242,000 Sign-Ups Health plan selections spike eight percent over last year, dental plan selections jump 12 percent
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced today that more than 242,000 customers signed up for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Washington Healthplanfinder by the close of open enrollment on Jan. 15 – an eight percent increase over the previous year.
A few days ago I reported that the Washington Health Benefit Exchange had enrolled 234,000 people in private policies for 2018 when they had just a couple of days left to go.
Today Hannah Recht provided a link to this WA state navigator meeting in which rough final numbers were included as part of the slideshow presentation, along with a bunch of other data points which should be of interest to other healthcare/navigator wonks. 242,800 is a rough number but assuming it doesn't get changed by much, it means the Apple State enrolled 7.6% more people in QHPs this year than last, with nearly 1/3 of them being new to the WA exchange.
Washington State was already beating their 2017 numbers anyway, so this update just pads their lead.
Today, with one day left for people to sign up before the January 15th deadline, the Seattle Times reports that WA's tally is up to 234,000:
Washington state is on pace to increase the number of people with health insurance despite efforts by the Republican Congress and the Trump administration to gut the laws known as Obamacare that expanded insurance coverage across the nation.
Whenever I write or talk about the 3-Legged Stool of the ACA and the actual flaws in the law (as opposed to the ones deliberately created by the GOP), I usually focus on two "gaps" in the legs: The APTC subsidies getting cut off at 400% FPL and being too stingy below that level, and the individual mandate not being large enough (and not being properly enforced). As it happens, part of the first problem has already been unintentionally "solved" thanks to Trump's ham-handed CSR reimbursement cut-off (which ended up increasing APTC tax credits for those below the 400% cut-off), while the second problem has just been made a whole lot worse thanks ot the GOP repealing the mandate altogether.
Kreidler proposes bill to stabilize individual market, reduce premium costs
Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055
January 8, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is proposing legislation to help provide stability and confidence that over 300,000 people are able to maintain coverage in Washington’s individual health insurance market.
Kreidler’s proposed reinsurance program would encourage more health plan options in the 2019 individual market and lower premium increases by up to 10 percent.
The Washington HealthPlan Finder issued a press release today urging people to #GetCovered before their upcoming January 15th Open Enrollment deadline. At first glance it looks like a pretty disappointing update ("over 231,00 QHPs"), since their previous update as of 12/15 was already 230,591, suggesting only a few hundred more people enrolled between December 16th - January 2nd...
Washington Healthplanfinder Reminds Residents It’s Not Too Late to Get Covered
Customers have until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15 to sign up for 2018 health and dental plans
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is reminding residents there is still time to sign up for 2018 health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. Customers have 12 more days to make their plan selections before the open enrollment period closes at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 15.
With less than two weeks remaining until the deadline, more than 231,000 Washingtonians have already used Washington Healthplanfinder to secure their coverage for 2018.
Washington Healthplanfinder Sign-Ups Jump Past 230,000, Shatter Last Year’s Record Pace
Final deadline for remaining customers to select 2018 health and dental coverage is Jan. 15
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 230,000 customers selected health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder by the Dec. 15 deadline for coverage that begins on Jan. 1. Customers who have not yet applied for coverage still have until Jan. 15 to sign up for health and dental plans that begin on Feb. 1.
According to Steve Valandra, spokesperson for the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the department has already come to a "done deal" agreement with Centene/Ambetter, the terms of which include:
The cease & desist order will be removed immediately, allowing Centene/Ambetter to continue selling plans on the individual market in Washington (including the ACA exchange)
Centene/Ambetter will immediately ameliorate all patient billing errors and other issues
Centene/Ambetter will be hit with a $1.5 million fine, but $1 million of this will be suspended if there are no further violations for at least 2 years
Centene/Ambetter must hire an external auditor, approved by the state insurance dept., to go over their books/etc.
The official notice of this agreement will be posted publicly on the Insurance Commissioner's website within 5 days.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today is alerting customers who have not yet signed up for 2018 coverage that 11:59 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 15 is the deadline to select health and dental plans through Washington Healthplanfinder that begin on Jan 1, 2018. After Dec. 15, individuals have until Jan. 15, 2018 to secure annual coverage that would start on Feb. 1, 2018.
Washingtonians seeking coverage for 2018 include 40,000 new customers who did not have coverage in the marketplace last year. The total number of new applicants represents a 47 percent increase over last year.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that nearly 18,000 new customers have used Washington Healthplanfinder to select 2018 health coverage through the first four weeks of open enrollment. The number of new customers who have signed up since Nov. 1 represents a 43 percent increase over the same period last year.
In addition to the 4,500 new sign-ups received on average each week, Washington Healthplanfinder has experienced an 18 percent increase in visits to the website, with more than 423,000 visitors reviewing their coverage options on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.
Additional data revealing increased consumer interest during open enrollment:
UPDATE: To clarify, just like with Covered California's "6,000 on day one" notice, Washington State's 4,550 new enrollees in 8 days don't include renewals/re-enrollments of current enrollees. Last year WA had 10,265 QHP selections total in the first 5 days and 21,665 in the first 12, so assuming a similar number of renewals each year, their total 8-day tally this year is likely around 13,000 + 4,550 = 17,500)