Insurers have proposed an average rate increase of 22.3 percent for 2018 health plans in Washington.
Eleven insurers filed 71 health plans for the state’s individual and family health insurance market, and all have increases of at least 12 percent. The jump has troubled Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who has been critical of the current administration for its perceived role in nationwide market uncertainty.
“I’m very concerned by the proposed changes we’re seeing,” Kreidler said. “I know these numbers will be extremely upsetting to people who buy their own health insurance. They’re upsetting to me. We’re going to spend the next several months reviewing every assumption insurers have made to make sure their proposed increases are justified.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty underlying our country’s health insurance system today and no state is immune. There are specific issues with our health insurance system that we need to address, such as the rising costs of prescription drugs and health care services. Yet, the current federal administration’s actions – such as not committing to reimburse insurers for cost-sharing subsidies and not enforcing the individual mandate – appear focused only on destabilizing the insurance market. Sadly, it’s the people in our communities and across the country who will pay the price.”
All 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 all plans for sale in Washington Healthplanfinder, our state's Exchange, on Sept. 14. Open enrollment for the 2018 individual market starts Nov. 1.
Approximately 62 percent of people in the state currently enrolled through Washington state's Exchange receive a subsidy to help offset their costs.