OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The board for Washington state’s health exchange delayed a vote Wednesday on approval of 31 plans proposed to be part of the system while some companies that were rejected by the insurance commission appeal their exclusion.
Earlier this month, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler authorized the individual health plans and rates of four health companies for inclusion in the exchange, where plans can be purchased starting on Oct. 1.
Of the nine companies that applied to sell health plan in the exchange, the four that were preliminarily approved were Bridgespan, Group Health Cooperative, Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise, a subsidiary of Premera.
The companies that applied but were not approved for the exchange were Moda Health Plan Inc., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care Co. and Molina Healthcare of Washington Inc.
So far, Kaiser, Community Health Plans of WA, and Coordinated Care Co. have appealed Kreidler’s decision, according to Kreidler’s office.
After Wednesday’s decision by the board, officials with Molina — which initially appealed but then withdrew its appeal — say they’ve resubmitted their plan application with the health exchange.
“The board wants to do everything in its power to ensure that when the exchange opens Oct. 1 we have as many carriers and participating plans as possible to provide options for residents,” exchange spokesman Michael Marchand said.
After Kreidler’s decision, state Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, issued a statement that called the dismissal of the prospective insurers before the exchange board could consider them a “step in the wrong direction.”
“After all, don’t we want as many options as possible for people who are purchasing health insurance?” she wrote.
Kreidler has said that some of those not approved couldn’t guarantee access to certain providers and hospitals, or for example, in the case of Molina, didn’t have an approved retail pharmacy.