Health insurers propose 19 percent average rate increase for Washington’s individual market

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Eleven health insurers filed 74 health plans for Washington state’s 2019 individual and family health insurance market, with an average proposed rate increase of 19.08 percent. There are no bare counties, although 14 counties will have only one insurer selling through Washington’s Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder.

“I’m relieved to see lower rate requests than we expected by most insurers and coverage in every county, but any increase will be hard for consumers to bear,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “We’re committed to working on solutions that improve affordability and consumer choice and will review these filings very carefully.

“There’s still a great deal of uncertainty in individual markets across the country, fueled by the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Instead of getting behind solutions that shore up these markets, the administration seems solely focused on undermining our health insurance system and the individuals and families who need to buy their coverage in the individual market.

“If the administration was serious about providing relief to consumers, it would abandon its proposals to segment the market with association health plans and short-term, limited-duration medical plans and work with Congress to pass market stabilization legislation and find solutions to the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs.”

All proposed rates, health plans and coverage areas are under review and may change. Once Kreidler’s review is complete, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify plans for sale through Washington Healthplanfinder on Sept. 13. Open enrollment for the 2019 individual market starts Nov. 1.

Approximately 268,400 people buy their health insurance through the individual market and more than 60 percent of people currently enrolled through Washington Healthplanfinder receive a subsidy to help lower their premiums.

Search proposed rate changes by health insurer and see a summary of what went into the proposed changes.