Thursday, May 16, 2013

The proposed health insurance rates for 2014: Where to find them and what they say

A lot of people are wondering how health care reform will affect premiums for health insurance, including those plans that will be sold through the new Washington Healthplanfinder, our state's health insurance exchange.

The insurers selling plans inside and outside the Exchange have filed their proposed rates with our office. These rates include those for small businesses and for individuals buying insurance coverage on their own.

Our actuaries are reviewing the proposed rates, which we've posted on our website.

From what we've seen so far, we're pleasantly surprised. Many people will see rates similar to what they're paying now, or in some cases, lower -- and with substantially better benefits. While we have a lot of work to do in reviewing these proposals, and the final rates could change, we're definitely not seeing the huge rate increases that some insurers had predicted.

In most cases, the benefits are substantially better, particularly for the individual market. Today, most individual health plans don't cover prescription drugs or maternity care. When the Affordable Care Act takes full effect in January, they'll have to cover those things.

Also, in many cases, deductibles in the new plans are much lower than today and the new plans include approximately $500 worth of free preventive services, such as a wellness visit, some immunizations, cancer screenings, etc.

Finally, federal subsidies will help with the costs. If you earn less than $45,960 (or $94,200 for a family of four) you may qualify for a federal subsidy -- in the form of tax credits -- to help you pay your premium. You can get an estimate of that subsidy at the Washington Healthplanfinder site.

Job opening: Deputy insurance commissioner for our Company Supervision division

We're recruiting to fill an exempt position for the deputy insurance commissioner in charge of our Company Supervision Division.

The successful applicant will manage a wide variety of situations and influences the course of insurance affairs at the state, national and international levels.

The position is responsible for the financial and market examination and supervision of all Washington-organized insuring entities and all other insuring entities licensed to do business in this state. The position’s mission is to protect insurance consumers, the public generally, and the state’s economy by ensuring the safety and soundness of insuring entities, and to ensure that they comply with applicable law.

In addition, the position has broad statutory discretion and specific statutory authority involving the registration/licensing, operation, supervision, receivership, liquidation, and merger of insuring entities.
For more specifics, duties, salary, and more please see the full job listing.