2019 Legislative Priorities:
Below is a summary of the steps the state legislature has taken to establish and implement the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (“Exchange”):
- In 2011, the legislature established the Exchange as “a public-private partnership separate and distinct from the state” governed by a bipartisan board. The Exchange is subject to public meetings and public disclosure laws. See SSB 5445.
- In 2012, the legislature established implementation guidelines for the Exchange, including essential health benefits, market rules, and other requirements for Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). The legislature also established that the Exchange must be self-sustaining. See ESSHB 2319.
- In 2013, the legislature established that “self-sustaining” means “capable of operating with revenue attributable to the operations of the exchange.” Revenue sources identified by the legislature include, but are not limited to, charges to health carriers, premiums paid by enrollees, and premium taxes attributable to Exchange enrollees in QHPs and stand-alone dental plans. The legislature also changed the Exchange account from a non-appropriated account to an appropriated account and included a performance audit requirement. See ESHB 1947.
- In 2014, the legislature established additional requirements relating to the grace period, including that the Exchange submit an annual grace period report. See ESSB 6016.
- In 2015, the legislature established additional reporting requirements for the Exchange, including:
- Annual Strategic Plan
- Annual 5-Year Spending Plan
- Quarterly Reporting on Spending Metrics
- Quarterly Financial Reports
See 2ESB 6089.
- In 2016, the legislature established a financing mechanism so family dental products can be offered through the Exchange. See HB 2768.
- In 2018, the legislature updated the Exchange enabling statutes to ensure that in the event of significant federal changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Exchange can continue operating as the state’s eligibility and enrollment portal for the 1 in 4 residents currently using Healthplanfinder to obtain health and dental coverage. The legislature also updated outdated provisions, consolidated reporting requirements, and made other changes to align the statutes with Exchange operations. See HB2516
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services continues to provide guidance and rules for the establishment and implementation of state-based exchanges. View a full list of guidance and regulations.