The carriers have submitted 2023 rates to the OIC for review. Let's take a peek at what is in store for next year's individual and small group premiums.
The insurance carriers’ 2023 proposed small group and individual plan premiums have been submitted to Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC). While it will take at least a few months for the back-and-forth between the carriers and the Commissioner to shake out, the proposed rates give us a starting point for renewal planning. Unfortunately, there are more two-digit increases requested this year than last year. Small group plans have two carriers (Kaiser WA and Premera) in this category; last year all renewals were in the single digits. Six individual carriers are requesting an increase over 10% (Asuris NW, Bridgespan, LIfewise, PacificSource, Regence, and United Healthcare), whereas last year there was only one (Premera). As with every year, there are a few counties that will be gaining or losing carrier offerings.
Small Group Plans
We’ll begin with the easier of the two program reviews, small group plans. These plans are for employers who had 50 or fewer employees on average during the calendar year prior to the effective (or renewal) date of the plan. All 12 insurance carriers providing plans in Washington State today have proposed plans and rates for the coming year, without much upsetting of the apple cart. Here’s a quick rundown:
Individual carriers are all requesting increases except Ambetter (requesting -1.2%). Six are requesting double digit increases (Asuris NW at 10.9%, BridgeSpan at 16.1%, Lifewise at 12.5%, PacificSource at 15.4%, Regence at 13.7%, and UnitedHealthcare at 15.3%). Total gain/loss of all individual plans from all carriers was a huge deficit of $58.6M in 2021 (all but three carriers experienced a loss in 2021).
Coming into 2023, two carriers currently offering individual plans in Kittitas county will no longer do so in 2023: BridgeSpan and Kaiser NW. Three carriers are adding two counties each (Ambetter, Coordinated Care, and Molina) while PacificSource is stretching their service area from 4 to 15 counties. Our county map outlines each of these carriers and counties in more detail.
The largest plan offerings are still in King, Pierce, Spokane and Thurston counties, with 9 carriers proposing to provide plans in 2023. San Juan continues to have the fewest (2 carriers) with Clallam, Island, and Whatcom also having few options (3 carriers).
Health Alliance NW Health Plan is not showing any proposed rates for 2023 on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s site. This leads me to believe that they will cease offering plans at the end of 2023. They are currently only available in four counties; these four counties would go from 5 carriers to 4 carriers if my supposition is correct.
While these are preliminary renewal numbers for 2023, and the final listing of counties per carrier may change, this provides estimates to begin your renewal planning. We expect that final rates will be approved by the Office of the Insurance Commission in October.
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I love numbers. I'm a math geek. I read benefits industry articles and periodicals for relaxation (but, honestly, I'm still a fun gal). I also like to share what I've learned and you'll find it all here.