2 insurers get second chance at Washington exchange participation

Washington's insurance commissioner has admitted to the state's health insurance exchange two of the five insurers he originally rejected now that they've improved their proposed plans.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler had denied Community Health Plan of Washington and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan from participating in the online marketplace, saying they didn't meet state and federal standards.

But Kreidler reversed his decision Friday after both insurers filed appeals to being left out of the exchange. His office then worked closely with Community Health Plan and Kaiser to reach settlements that improve their proposed plans, the Associated Press reported.

For example, Community Health agreed to change its tiered co-pay rates so it will charge members the same co-pay regardless of the provider. And Kaiser agreed to make its rate information more complete, the AP noted.

"During this process, our goal has never waivered--to give Washington consumers as many choices of high quality health insurance plans as possible," Kreidler said Friday in a statement. "I'm very pleased with our thorough reviews."

Now that Community Health and Kaiser have been approved to sell plans in the exchange, Washington will have six insurers offering 41 policies on its marketplace.

"I wish I could've entered settlement talks with all of the companies that appealed," Kreidler said, referencing Coordinated Care's appeal of his initial decision. But he said the insurer faces "substantial issues," suc as lacking a legal contract with a children's hospital.

To learn more:
- here's the statement
- read the Associated Press article
- see the Seattle Times article