Health insurers in Washington propose big rate increases

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — State officials announced Monday that health insurers have proposed rate changes for next year that have an average increase of about 22.3 percent.

The insurance commissioner’s office said that 11 health insurers filed 71 health plans for the state’s individual and family health insurance market.

“I’m very concerned by the proposed changes we’re seeing,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a written statement. “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.”

All rates, health plans, and coverage areas are under review by Kreidler’s office and may change before the plans are certified by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board on Sept. 14. Open enrollment for the 2018 individual market starts Nov. 1.

Originally two counties — Klickitat and Grays Harbor — had no plans offered by health insurers next year. But Kreidler announced Monday afternoon that after he reached out to various insurance companies, Premera Blue Cross decided to offer two individual health plans to consumers in Grays Harbor County.

Kreidler said he would continue to work to get insurance options for customers in Klickitat County.

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