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June 13, 2021

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Insurance options opening up

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1, with 85 plans in county

By , Columbian Health Reporter

Clark County residents who purchase health plans through the state-based insurance exchange will have more plans to choose from when open enrollment begins this fall.

The state insurance commissioner and the Washington Healthplanfinder board recently approved six insurers to provide 85 health plans in Clark County. The 2015 exchange included six insurers with 57 plans locally.

The 2016 exchange will include five insurers currently offering plans in Clark County — BridgeSpan Health Company (Cambia), Columbia United Providers, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington and Moda Health Plan. Community Health Plan of Washington will no longer have plans in Clark County. But a new insurer — UnitedHealthcare of Washington — will offer plans in all 39 counties in the state.

Statewide, 12 insurance carriers will offer 136 plans in the exchange, That’s up from 10 insurers selling 82 plans in the 2015 exchange. In addition, six carriers will offer eight pediatric dental plans this year.

“We’re delighted that the number of health plan options available to Washington residents has increased each year since the launch of Washington Healthplanfinder,” said Pam MacEwan, interim chief executive officer of the exchange, in a news release. “This growth is a testament to a vibrant and growing marketplace that is continuing to attract consumers and insurance carriers.”

The state insurance commissioner approved a 4.2 percent average rate increase. The insurance companies requested an average increase of 5.4 percent.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon applied to provide 10 plans outside of the exchange. The company’s plans and rates are still under review by the insurance commissioner, as are three other companies that wouldn’t be offering plans in Clark County.

Plans purchased outside the health exchange are not eligible for tax credits to help pay for the cost of coverage.

The 2016 open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Local options

In Clark County, insurers are offering 84 plans falling under three “metal levels”: gold, silver and bronze. Kaiser is also offering one catastrophic plan.

• BridgeSpan is offering 30 health plans in 11 counties. The company uses different provider networks within the state to provide coverage. In Clark County, Bridge Span members use providers in the Legacy Health network.

• Columbia United Providers is offering five plans in Clark County. The company is not in any other counties.

• Kaiser is offering seven plans in Clark and Cowlitz counties, including the catastrophic plan.

• LifeWise is offering six plans in all 39 counties in the state.

• Moda is offering five plans in all 39 counties in the state.

• UnitedHealthcare is offering 32 health plans in all 39 counties.

Columbian Health Reporter