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May 2014 St@teside

Washington's Health Insurance Tools Guide Consumers Through Recent Rate Releases

As of mid-May, states have started to publicly announce proposed rate filings from insurers for plan year 2015. Washington’s Healthplanfinder is one state-based marketplace (SBM) that recently announced the filings, making a considerable effort to be consumer-friendly and transparent with the information received. For plan year 2014, eight insurers offered a total of 46 plans through Healthplanfinder. The twelve insurers that submitted filings for plan year 2015 are offering a total of 114 plans – an increase of 147 percent. The average increase in premium rates is 8.25 percent for plans on the individual market, the lowest increase in seven years.

While Washington State has 60 days to complete its review of the submissions, the Office of the State Insurance Commissioner has posted the proposed rates to its website, and has provided some valuable tools to consumers who are interested in learning how the proposed rates could impact their insurance options for plan year 2015. The Office of the State Insurance Commissioner provides a listing of insurers who have submitted rates for plan year 2015, the average rate change for their offered plans, and whether they are on or off the marketplace. Washington also links to a chart that details the number of plans submitted by each insurer by metal level, in order to provide a holistic view of the insurance market, both on and off the marketplace.

Beyond providing a general landscape of what the plan year 2015 submissions contain, Washington goes one step further and offers consumers a tool designed to allow them to search for specific plans by insurance company. This transparency tool allows consumers to drill down to detailed information about:

  • the relevant plan year (2014 or 2015);
  • the type of plan submitted (individual, on or off marketplace);
  • whether it is a new plan to the market;
  • what is the proposed rate change for that plan;
  • the current approval status from the state;
  • the date the rates go into effect;
  • the details of the submission by the insurer (including a summary document and the complete request for rate approval); and
  • any comments submitted in response to the proposed rates.

Visit the Washington Department of Insurance website for more details, and additional information about the proposed plan year 2015 Washington rates.