Washington state stands behind troubled insurance marketplace

Washington's insurance commissioner stands behind the state's insurance marketplace despite an ongoing struggle to transfer information from the site to payers, the Seattle Times reported.

Mike Kriedler said the largest issue with the state's Healthplanfinder site, run by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, remains the transfer of premium payment information.

Insurers don't always receive coverage and payment information from the site, Kriedler said. That makes it looks like patients lack insurance. The state said about 1,300 accounts experienced payment problems, but insurers said the actual number is more than 10 times that number. "This is something that should have been resolved early," he told the paper.

Despite the glitch--which wasn't fixed in time for the Nov. 15 open enrollment start date--Kriedler said he's "still optimistic" that the state's insurance exchange will continue to grow.

For example, Washington has launched a new marketplace for businesses with fewer than 50 employees after the state was among the many states that closed their Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and migrated to the federal system due to a lack of interest.

In addition, Kriedler ruled in April that insurers must expand provider networks in Washington state. This discourages insurers from using narrow networks in the plans they sell on the state's insurance exchange.

To learn more:
- read the Seattle Times article