by American Insurance News Release on Oct 11, 2017
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board has certified the Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Qualified Dental Plans (QDPs) to be be offered through Washington Healthplanfinder for 2018 coverage. Plans certified this week are available for purchase during the upcoming open enrollment period that begins on Nov. 1.
Rates for the certified health plans represent a 24 percent increase over those available through the Exchange last year for 2017 coverage. Family dental plans saw a two percent increase from the previous year. Many consumers will have these increases offset by federally-provided tax credits that help lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums.
American Insurance health agents, Dave Root and Tim Gleason, have received updated training and certifications for this health coverage.
“We will know which direction we are headed when national decisions are made that will affect these Washington rates,” said Root. “We can offer our expertise to explain what these plans mean and which of them are available for our local clients.”
Tax credits are offered only through the Exchange and are calculated based on the price of second-lowest cost silver plans. These rates represent the current market conditions where cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) remain funded by the federal government.
However, should the federal government stop funding CSRs at some point in 2018, the OIC has determined that they may legally adjust the original lower rate to the approved higher rates of silver plans in the Exchange.
As federal law requires insurance companies to discount out-of-pocket costs to customers who qualify for CSRs in silver plans, if the federal government stops funding CSRs, insurance companies would be responsible for those payments. The increase takes into account the impact of insurance companies assuming CSR payments.
“The uncertainty surrounding cost-sharing reductions continues to weigh heavily on our state’s individual market,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We presume that the lower rate will carry through the 2018 plan year as funding for CSRs continues from the federal government. That said, it is important to prepare for a scenario where the federal government discontinues those payments.”
During their special meeting on certification, the Exchange Board approved a total of 41 QHPs, two QDPs and four pediatric dental plans that will be offered to all residents through Washington Healthplanfinder.
Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, at AMERICAN INSURANCE or by calling 208-746-9646.
Source: Washington Health Plan Finder, News Release, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Certifies 2018 Health and Dental Plans.