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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rates on Washington health plans to increase an average 13.8 percent in 2019

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 14, 2018

The costs of public health care plans will rise nearly 14 percent next year as a result of rate changes approved by state regulators.

Four providers will sell plans in Spokane County on the state’s insurance exchange in 2019, down from five last year. Premera Blue Cross will not offer a plan on the public marketplace after doing so in 2018, according to a news release from the commissioner’s office.

“We’re doing what we can to hold down costs, but it’s a struggle,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in a news release announcing the rate approvals. “Insurers need stability, and we’re still facing inaction at the federal level, as well as targeted hits on the Affordable Care Act that increase the uncertainty.”

Of the four plans available in Spokane County on the exchange, the cost of insurance provided by the Kaiser Health Plan of Washington will increase the most, at 18.61 percent. The costs of insurance through LifeWise Health Plan of Washington will go up the least, at 6.51 percent.

The office said about 207,000 Washington residents purchased plans through the exchange last year. Of those, 60 percent received subsidies to help cover the cost of insurance.

The plans were approved by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board on Thursday. The Office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner will consider rate increases for private health insurance plans later this year.

Open enrollment in new public health plans begins Nov. 1 in Washington and ends Dec. 15.

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