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HealthCare Checkup

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

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Carol M. Ostrom.

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…


Comments | Topics: exchange budget, Healthplanfinder, Richard Onizuka

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…


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:…


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…


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…



July 29, 2014 at 8:20 AM

King County Public Health chief stepping down

Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King  County, has resigned, effective Aug. 11. In a statement, Fleming, 60, said his “personal plans and needs” don’t allow him to make the long-term leadership commitment the agency now requires. Fleming, who has led Public Health for seven years, recently endured severe budget…


Comments | More in General News | Topics: Fleming, Health Department, resign

July 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Becker slams insurance-office report’s ‘selective use of facts’

  Sen. Randi Becker State Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville and chair of the Senate Health Care committee, isn’t going to let go of Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s tangle with his administrative-law judge, who was placed on leave in May after accusing her supervisor at the insurance office of trying to influence her on insurance cases she adjudicates. Becker,…



July 22, 2014 at 8:45 PM

PeaceHealth stops affiliation plans in Snohomish and Skagit counties

Nancy Steiger PeaceHealth, a Catholic health-care system, has delayed indefinitely its planned affiliations with small hospitals in Snohomish and Skagit counties, citing higher-than-expected costs in the effort to roll out a medical information-technology system. Nancy Steiger, PeaceHealth CEO and chief mission officer for its Northwest network, said PeaceHealth could not make a final commitment at this time to Cascade…


Comments | Topics: Cascade Valley Hospital, Nancy Steiger, PeaceHealth

July 18, 2014 at 6:23 AM

Hospital union: Why offer workers 1 percent raise, while CEO gets 18 percent?

Union members at EvergreenHealth medical center Thursday highlighted the comparison between the 1 percent pay raise they say the Kirkland hospital is offering them versus the 18 percent raise received by the CEO of the public hospital district facility last year.   CEO Robert Malte The informational picket and rally was held by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, which represents Evergreen’s cooks, nursing assistants,…


Comments | Topics: EvergreenHealth, executive compensation, pay raises

July 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Lawmakers quiz health insurance exchange on glitches, budget

Rep. Eileen Cody Lawmakers grilled officials from Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Thursday, making it clear they’ve heard plenty from constituents who say they’ve paid their premiums but still don’t have health coverage — in most cases because premiums, which they paid to the exchange, aren’t getting to the insurer. “We’ve all heard a lot,” said More

Comments | Topics: Healthplanfinder, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

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