The Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced April 19 that as of this month, more than 204,000 Washington Healthplanfinder customers have enrolled in a 2017 Qualified Health Plan during the most recent open enrollment period, marking a 23 percent jump from the previous year. Yet, one concern moving forward is the impact of potential shifts from changes in the federal law and regulations.
One issue up in the air in the individual market is continuation of cost sharing reductions for lower-income people, which currently help over 70,000 Washingtonians with their deductible and copayments. Health plans need to submit Exchange proposed premiums for the upcoming year in June. This will be difficult when it is unclear if this federal support will continue.
AHA and WSHA have urged Congress and the administration to take quick action to ensure these cost sharing reductions are funded. If the uncertainty continues, it is possible plans may increase their premiums significantly or decide not to participate in some counties. (Zosia Stanley)