- Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler has cut insurers' requested rate increases for 2015 from 8.6% to 1.9%. The number of available plans will also double, with 10 insurers offering 90 plans—up from the exchange's inaugural year when eight insurers offered 46 plans.
- The Office of the Insurance Commission also approved two insurers to offer small business exchange plans. One, Moda Health Plan, will be the first to sell small-business plans statewide in Washington.
- The actuarial review lowered the requested rates from all but one insurer. Kreidler called the 1.9% shift a "record low rate change." According to Kreidler, increased interest from payers for 2015 is "a clear sign that health reform is working."
Not everyone made it through the review process: Health Alliance Northwest Health Plan, a for-profit in Urbana, Ill. that applied to sell only exchange plans, was not approved, and neither was national giant United HealthCare, which applied to sell plans on and off the state exchange. A spokesperson for United said in a statement that it is continuing to work with the Washington OIC to gain approval for an exchange offering.
Meanwhile, five insurers will sell individual insurance only outside the exchange: Asuris Northwest Health, Group Health Options, Regence BlueShield, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Time Insurance.
Patrick Connor, the Washington state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, applauded the healthy competition on 2015 exchange.
"We are pleased to see more insurers offering health plans both inside and outside the exchange," Conner told the Seattle Times. "Increased competition is our best hope of ever lowering costs, while improving choice and quality of health-insurance options available in our state."