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No Healthcare “Rate Shock” in Washington State – Yet

Many health insurers were anticipating staggering premium hikes of up to 70 percent for new individual health plans created under the new federal healthcare reform law, but insurers that filed their requests for rates last week with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner found that requested premiums were not much higher than current plans...
May 22, 2013

Many health insurers were anticipating staggering premium hikes of up to 70 percent for new individual health plans created under the new federal healthcare reform law, but insurers that filed their requests for rates last week with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner found that requested premiums were not much higher than current plans. “Considering the dire situation the companies predicted, we're extremely surprised,” said a spokesperson for Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. The insurers’ predictions were based on an expectation of an influx of people with pre-existing conditions, including those insured by the state’s high-risk pool for people so sick that private companies would not insure them.

The insurance commissioner’s office hasn’t begun to review the rates, which it could challenge as too high — or too low, if it appears insurers have artificially lowballed rates to gain market share. Both insurers and regulators cautioned that an apples-to-apples comparison with current rates is difficult at best. These are entirely new plans, most with more benefits and different out-of-pocket amounts and limits than the old plans.

Premiums under New Healthcare Law About the Same (Seattle Times 5/18/13)

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