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Obama’s health care proposal refused by Washington insurance commissioner

Washington’s top insurance official is rejecting President Barack Obama’s proposal that would allow insurance companies to extend expiring plans another year.

“I do not believe his proposal is a good deal for the state of Washington,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Thursday. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.”

Kreidler has been an adamant supporter of Obama’s health care overhaul, embracing most aspects of the law.

“I understand that many people are upset by the notices they have recently received from their health plans and they may not need the new benefits today,” Kreidler said in a prepared statement after the White House briefing. “But I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and, more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market.”

Kreidler estimated that 290,000 Washington residents have received notices that their old insurance policies will be canceled. At least half of them will qualify for a premium subsidy from the government to buy new health insurance coverage, he said.

There are 46 individual health plans for sale within the state exchange at and 51 plans available outside of the exchange.

“Don’t just take what your insurance company says,” Kreidler advised. “You may find better, more affordable coverage with a different insurer.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.