Oct 26, 201706:13 PMBlog
Eleven insurers, 74 plans on Exchange; rates jump 36 percent
Eleven health insurers are approved to sell 74 plans in Washington's 2018 individual health insurance market, with the average premium increase this year has jumped to 36.4 percent.
The high increase, according to the office of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, is due to President Trump's decision to stop funding the cost-sharing reduction assistance.
The president's decision increased rates by 10 percent on average in Washington state.
"I'm very disheartened to have to approve these rates," said Kreidler. "For months, we've struggled with the ongoing uncertainty at the federal level and have shared our concerns with our Congressional delegation and with the president's administration. I warned of the harm their actions could inflict on real people and their families. The president's decision to stop making cost-sharing subsidy payments and weakening the enforcement of the individual mandate to buy health insurance are behind the surge in premiums we're seeing this year. The other major cost driver is the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs — something the administration promised to tackle, yet has failed to take on."
Earlier this year, Kreidler instructed insurers to file two sets of rates for silver-level plans: one assuming the federal government would continue funding cost-sharing reduction subsidies and one, if the funding stopped. Both sets of rates were approved. When President Trump issued his Executive Order, insurers were allowed to switch to the higher set of rates. If Congress restores the funding at any time in 2018, insurers must revert to the lower set of rates and consumers will be notified.