HCA announces apparently successful bidders for new School Employee plans

Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) announced six apparently successful bidders for the fully insured medical plans offered by the new School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program. Aetna, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc., Premera Blue Cross, and Providence Health Plan have all qualified and will enter into further negotiations to determine the content of plan offerings. This announcement follows the announcement earlier in the month of Davis Vision, EyeMed, and MetLife, Inc. as apparently successful bidders for SEBB stand alone vision plans.

The choices, announced August 27th, are part of a transition of school employees to a state-wide benefit system that was passed as a part of EHB 2242, or the McCleary Bill, passed in 2017. The bill established the SEBB, much like the Public Employees Benefit Board, which will function as an exchange to consolidate health care and vision options for school employees statewide instead of leaving them to be handled district by district. The change is expected to decrease costs due to pooling of risk and increase coverage options for employees. The SEBB will begin offering the health benefits to eligible employees of all school districts, educational service districts and charter schools on January 1, 2020, with the specifics of the plans, premium case, deductible, and co-pays to be bargained for after specific plan offerings are decided.

The procurement process for all plans began in early April, when HCA issued a request for information (RFI), followed by the release of a competitive solicitation for requests for proposals (RFPs) from experienced health and vision carriers interested in accelerating health transformation and providing plan design options to meet the needs of SEBB Program enrollees. The plans available through the SEBB are expected to cover around 200,000 employees and family members, broadening access to insurance to 9,000 more school employees and 30,000 dependents

The apparently successful bidders presented HCA with service areas, provider networks, customer service support, health management programs, and benefit options designed to deliver high quality services and support to members. HCA will now enter into contract negotiations with the bidders and present plan designs and proposed service areas for review and action by the SEB Board this fall.

For more information on upcoming SEBB meetings and actions please check SEBB Program webpage.