Statement from Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan on Proposed 2019 Health Insurance Plan Filings

OLYMPIA, Wash.

Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, issued today the following statement regarding the proposed 2019 health insurance rates for Washington state announced by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner:

“We at the Exchange are encouraged to see that the proposed 2019 individual health insurance rates submitted to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner will not increase as dramatically as what was experienced for 2018. However, the plan filings do reflect an ongoing trend of market volatility that places unnecessary financial stress on Washington residents.

“The instability is due in large part to the unknown effects of actions, including the removal of the individual mandate and other changes, made at the federal level.

“While we are pleased to find that residents in every county will have access to coverage next year, it is discouraging that upcoming plan rates may still exceed the budgets of many of our state’s individuals and families. These increases will prove especially impactful to those Washingtonians who will not qualify for tax subsidies that help lower the cost of their premiums.

“The Exchange remains committed to meeting the needs of all Washingtonians. Our recent decision to lower our carrier assessment rate on 2019 health plans sold on Washington Healthplanfinder is a reflection of our commitment in helping reduce the financial burden of purchasing health insurance. Working alongside state leaders, as well as consumer stakeholders and the insurance carriers themselves, we are dedicated to identifying and pursuing additional ways to address affordability issues in Washington state.”

Reminders: Enrollment is offered year-round to individuals and families through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Customers enrolled in Apple Health will receive a notice of 60 days before the month they enrolled in or renewed their coverage last year.

About Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals and families in Washington to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage and gain access to tax credits, reduced cost sharing and public programs such as Medicaid. The next open enrollment period for Washington Healthplanfinder begins on Nov. 1.

About Washington Apple Health

In Washington, Medicaid is called Washington Apple Health. Free or low-cost coverage is available year-round for those who qualify. Since the Affordable Care Act launched in October 2013, more people have access to preventive care, like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services they need to stay healthy. Apple Health clients enroll and renew online using Washington Healthplanfinder. Apple Health is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority: www.hca.wa.gov

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