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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

August 28, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Health-benefit exchange budget grows; will more spending mean more revenue?

Washington’s exchange will ask the state Legislature to lift its cap on allocations from the general fund, hoping for a budget that avoids cutting allocations for in-person assisters and advertising. Because revenue generated by the exchange goes into the state’s general fund, to be doled out later by the Legislature, the $59.2 budget approved by the exchange board…

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Comments | Topics: exchange budget, Healthplanfinder, Richard Onizuka

August 28, 2014 at 4:09 PM

More health insurance options increase choice — and possibly confusion

The board overseeing the Washington’s health insurance marketplace Thursday certified more than 100 health and dental plans to be sold this fall. Washington residents will have roughly twice as many health insurance plans to choose from in the individual market for coverage beginning in 2015, including for the first time plans at…

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Healthplanfinder

August 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

As many as 1 in 5 exchange enrollees affected by technical problems, staff concedes

A lack of transparency in describing and fixing technical problems became an issue in Thursday’s Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board meeting. Board member Bill Hinkle grew testy at what he said was mutual staff back-patting and excuses for the problems still plaguing thousands of accounts.  “C’mon you guys, let’s quit blowing smoke here,” Hinkle said. “I’m…

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Comments | Topics: Bill Hinkle, Teresa Mosqueda, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

August 27, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Exchange health plans approved: 10 insurers, 90 plans

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has approved 10 insurers to sell 90 individual health plans inside Washington’s exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, in the next open enrollment, which begins in November. The overall approved average rate change is just 1.9 percent, significantly lower than the exchange insurers’ original request of 8.6 percent. Two insurers were not approved:…

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Comments | Topics: health plans, Healthplanfinder, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

August 21, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Healthplanfinder: ‘Moderately effective,’ could improve

How does Washington’s online exchange marketplace compare with those in other states? As part of an ongoing study, the nonprofit Urban Institute assessed how well state exchanges created  under the Affordable Care Act provide the sort of information consumers want to know about insurance plans they’re considering buying. The report — Physician Network Transparency: How Easy…

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Bill Hinkle, Don Conant

August 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Seattle Children’s and BridgeSpan still at odds over network

Seattle Children’s is pushing on with its case against the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, contending it illegally approved BridgeSpan Health’s 2014 individual plans for sale in Healthplanfinder, Washington’s online exchange marketplace. BridgeSpan, an affiliate of Regence BlueShield, did not include Seattle Children’s in its provider network. Children’s, in briefs filed with the state’s hearings office, argued that…

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August 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Washington health exchange says computer, payment problems resolving

The Associated Press Officials at Washington’s health exchange say they’re making progress on fixing the computer problems that have kept thousands of people from using their new health insurance. At a meeting of the Health Benefit Exchange Board on Thursday, the agency’s associate operations director reported that nearly 7,700 people have had their payment issues resolved. Bob…

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Comments | Topics: billing problems, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

August 8, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Oracle sues Oregon over health exchange fiasco

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oracle Corp. is suing Oregon in a continuing fiasco over the state’s health insurance exchange, saying Oregon is continuing to use the technology company’s software despite $23 million in disputed bills. Oracle’s breach-of-contract lawsuit against Cover Oregon was filed Friday in federal court in Portland. It alleges that state officials repeatedly promised…

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Comments | More in General News | Topics: Affordable Care Act

August 7, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Frustrated health-exchange customers can pay insurers directly

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP The Associated Press A major fix to problems plaguing the state’s answer to health-care reform was announced Thursday, allowing exchange customers to pay insurers directly, as they do in some other states. While direct payments already have been an option, Gov. Jay Inslee, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange made…

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Comments | Topics: Mike Kreidler, Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder

August 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Gallup: Washington 4th in reducing uninsured residents

The percentage of Washington residents without health insurance dropped from 16.8 percent last year to 10.7 percent by mid-2014 according to a national survey released Tuesday by Gallup. Only Arkansas, Kentucky and Delaware had larger declines in the percentage of uninsured residents. Oregon ranked 7th. The reductions come as a result of the Affordable…

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Medicaid

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