The WA state OIC has approved 2024 rates for all individual carriers. Let's take a peek at what is in store for next year's individual market.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) released approved 2024 rates for all 14 of the individual carriers currently offering options in the state. This is one of the least volatile years in terms of carriers offering benefits, and in changes to which counties they will provide their plans. Requested increases ranged from -3.4% to 17.9%, with the final approvals coming in between -7.0% to 17.8%.
Of the 14 individual carriers, many finalized their plans at or below their requested rate adjustment. Those carriers finalizing rates above their requested changes are only seeing about a 1 – 2% addition to their original request.
In 2023, there were six carriers who were approved for a double digit increase. In comparison, for 2024, there are only three:
Changes to County Coverage
In 2023, we saw one carrier exit the individual marketplace in Washington (Health Alliance), and just one carrier stopped selling their plans in a county (Bridgespan stopped offering plans in Kittitas). However, various carriers added counties to their coverage area.
In 2024, the market is more robust. No carriers requested to exit counties, which is the first year in quite some time that all individual carriers have retained all their existing coverage areas. In addition, three carriers will expand their territories this coming year.
Comparing 2024 to Past Years
For the third year in a row, at least one carrier has requested over a 16% increase to their average individual medical rates in Washington state.
Of note in the filings are the annual cumulative carrier gains/losses in the individual market overall. The carriers evaluate the prior calendar year’s data when setting their rates. For example, the 2024 rate filings were based on the 2022 calendar year.
The Bottom Line
For yet another year, we are able to enter the new year with a rather stable individual medical market, with each county having 3 to 10 carriers to choose from. Individuals will only need to change their carrier if they wish to, since no carriers are exiting counties that they currently serve. There certainly could be movement from one carrier to another in counties where carriers are entering the market, including Adams, Asotin, Clallam, Columbia, Grays Harbor, Pierce, Spokane, Stevens, and Yakima counties. There is also a high likelihood of individuals at least looking at alternatives who are currently with carriers who were approved for double-digit rate increases, which includes Bridge Span, Kaiser WA, and Premera.
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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.