Friday, October 15, 2010

Which insurers sell individual insurance plans in Washington?

  • Asuris Northwest Health
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • Group Health Options
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest
  • KPS Health Plans
  • Lifewise Health Plan of Washington
  • Premera BlueCross Individual Plans
  • Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
  • Regence BlueShield
  • Time Insurance Company

 
To see who's selling coverage in your county, click here.

 
And to look at their rates, click here.

Kreidler orders Regence to cover children

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler this morning ordered Regence BlueShield this morning to stop illegally denying insurance to children, effective immediately.

“Regence is in clear violation of state law that prohibits insurers from denying insurance to people on the basis of age,” said Kreidler. “I was shocked and deeply disappointed when Regence announced its decision last week to stop selling insurance to kids.”


The Affordable Care Act requires all health plans to cover kids with pre-existing conditions. However, to accommodate the insurance industry’s concerns that people would only enroll their children when they became sick, the federal government let states create a special open enrollment period.

Kreidler issued an emergency rule creating a special enrollment period from Nov. 1-Dec. 15. During this time, anyone looking for an individual health plan for their families or just their children can enroll their kids without having to take a health screen.

But Regence Blue Shield, the largest health insurer in the individual market, notified Kreidler on Sept. 27 that, effective Oct. 1, it would no longer sell individual health insurance policies to kids.

Here's a link to the full press release.

Update: And here's the response from Regence, which says it was shocked and disappointed by the order. From their press release:
It is important to stress that our eligibility changes do not apply to those insured members covered under small or large group policies. We've been very clear that we will insure kids during open enrollment periods when the child is not the sole subscriber -- and we will do so regardless of health status.

Tacoma woman with history of slip-and-fall claims charged with theft

A Tacoma woman who has repeatedly claimed to have slipped and fallen in grocery stores has been charged with theft and attempted theft after claiming to have fallen in two different stores within about 15 minutes.

Brenda J. Johnson, 50, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Pierce County Superior Court. She has been charged with first-degree theft and first-degree attempted theft.

Johnson said she was near check stand No. 2 at a Tacoma Safeway store on Sept. 18, 2009 at 11:46, buying peaches, when she slipped on some liquid and fell, injuring her wrist and ribs. Neither the cashier nor any other employee could recall any such incident.

On the same day at about noon, Johnson said the same thing happened in the frozen food aisle of a Tacoma Fred Meyer store.

In both cases, she said, she was embarrassed and quickly left. She filed claims with both stores, showing medical care and prescription drug receipts totalling more than $5,500.

A subsequent investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's Special Investigations Unit indicated that she apparently submitted virtually identical medical receipts to each store, including an 8-page emergency room report that was missing some pages.

Medical records obtained through a search warrant indicated that the treatment was unrelated to a fall at either store. The records also showed that there been no expense to Johnson for the care.

The investigation also revealed that Johnson has filed at least five auto-accident medical claims and at least half a dozen slip-and-fall injury claims.