Twelve health insurers are approved to sell plans in Washington's 2023 Exchange health insurance market. The average rate increase is 8.8%. Plans from two additional health insurers (Asuris Northwest Health and Providence Health Plan) are still under review for sale outside of the Exchange.
Key drivers behind this year's premium changes are increased utilization, including pent-up demand for elective surgeries and changes to what payments the insurers either owed or received under the Affordable Care Act's risk adjustment program. This program stabilizes the market by spreading the financial risk across all insurers.
It requires federally collected funds be redistributed from plans with lower-risk enrollees to plans with higher-risk enrollees. Insurers must estimate these amounts when they file their requests in June and the amounts are adjusted once the final calculations are made later in the summer.
"More than 200,000 people in Washington state get their health coverage through our individual market,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “It’s critical they have choices for meaningful and affordable coverage, and I'm pleased to see our market doing so well. I know that premiums and cost-sharing are still high for many, especially those who don’t qualify for subsidies, and we need to do more to address the underlying costs of health care.”
People who do not get health insurance coverage from their employer shop for insurance in the individual market. Premium subsidies are available, based on income through Washington's Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder.org. Additional financial subsidies were available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and helped more than 60,000 people afford coverage last year. This help will continue through 2025 due to the recently passed Federal Inflation Reduction Act.
An estimated 219,112 people in Washington are currently enrolled in health plans through the individual market. As of June 2021, Washington's uninsured rate was 5.2%.