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HealthCare Checkup

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

Topic: Mike Kreidler

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May 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Auditor’s office won’t investigate judge’s claims of pressure on cases

The State Auditor’s Office has declined to investigate a whistleblower complaint by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s administrative-law judge, who alleged that she has been improperly contacted and pressured by the OIC’s chief deputy on cases before her.   In a letter to the insurance office’s Chief Presiding Officer Patricia Petersen, the auditor’s whistleblower manager,  Jim…


Comments | Topics: ex parte communications, Jim Odiorne, Mike Kreidler

May 13, 2014 at 5:02 PM

More 2015 health plan choices likely for exchange shoppers

On average, the rate increase requested for 2015 individual health plans is 8.25 percent ­– the lowest in seven years, according to figures kept by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. That “relatively low” weighted average increase in proposed premiums is just one of the developments that has pleased Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, whose office will now be…


Comments | Topics: BridgeSpan Health Co., Healthplanfinder, individual health insurance

March 6, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Washington won’t revive canceled insurance plans

Coverage is Here iconWashington residents are not affected by President Obama’s announcement that canceled health insurance plans will be extended by an additional two years.

Plans that expired at the end of 2013 will stay dead in Washington, the state’s insurance commissioner confirmed Wednesday.

After getting hammered by critics for his pledge that if you liked your insurance coverage you could keep it, Obama in November gave states the option of bringing back discontinued health plans for a year. This week he upped it by two more years.

Roughly 230,000 people in Washington received letters this fall informing them that their current plans were being eliminated because they failed to meet the new requirements prescribed by the Affordable Care Act. The customers were offered new plans by their insurance company, often at a higher price.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler quickly declined Obama’s offer to bring back the defunct plans, citing concerns that it would add confusion to the market and create a logistical challenge.


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, discontinued plans, health insurance

December 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Insurance commissioner offers advice for getting health coverage by Jan. 1

Deadlines are fast approaching for thousands of Washington residents who still need to sign up for health insurance if they want coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014. For those consumers, state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is offering several suggestions. First, make sure you know the deadlines for health-insurance policies available both inside and outside Healthplanfinder, the state’s…


Comments | Topics: Mike Kreidler, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Healthplanfinder

December 3, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Kreidler to testify Wednesday before U.S. House subcommittee

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who refused President Obama’s offer to let people keep discontinued health plans, will testify before the U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee early Wednesday morning about how the Affordable Care Act is working in Washington. Kreidler was invited to testify by Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Seattle, who serves as…


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, discontinued plans, Jim McDermott

November 20, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Other states mixed on canceled insurance-plan question

Brad Camp's health-insurance plan was canceled, but he looks forward to better coverage for himself and his kids, Vicky, 15, and Nickolas, 10. Photo by the Times' Greg Gilbert.

Brad Camp’s health insurance plan was canceled, but he looks forward to better coverage for himself and his kids, Vicky, 15, and Nickolas, 10. Photo: Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times.

After President Obama last week announced that states would have the option of asking insurers to revive canceled health-insurance plans, Washington’s insurance commissioner immediately nixed the idea.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler explained his decision, saying Washington’s Healthplanfinder insurance exchange is working, and that allowing a bunch of people to re-up on plans deemed insufficient threatens the success of the new system.

The premise of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that nearly everyone has comprehensive insurance coverage through insurance plans or public programs, sharing the costs for medical care among the old and young, the healthy and ill. Kreidler had numerous questions and concerns about how changing the rules for insurance plans work work this late in the game.

So what did the rest of the nation do? The New York Times has a nifty graphic illustrating who’s doing what. It turns out seven other states have joined Washington’s thanks-but-no-thanks position, including New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Indiana, Rhode Island, Maryland and Minnesota. Those open to extending the plans include Oregon, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.


Comments | Topics: Mike Kreidler, Office of the Insurance Commisioner, Washington Healthplanfinder

November 15, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Insurance commissioner’s day on the hotseat

Late Friday, interview requests were still pouring in for State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who turned down President Obama’s rule change to allow insurers to keep discontinued individual health insurance plans. The old plans were discontinued by insurers because they didn’t include a variety of benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, or in other ways…


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, discontinued plans, health insurance

November 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM

State’s snub of Obamacare ‘fix’ raised at White House press briefing

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s swift rejection Thursday of President Barack Obama’s proposed “fix” for canceled health-insurance policies was featured prominently in a heated exchange between a reporter and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during Friday’s White House press briefing. ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl began his question this way: “Jay,…


Comments | Topics: canceled health insurance, Jay Carney, Mike Kreidler

November 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Why Kreidler won’t revive dead health insurance plans

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

President Obama came out with the surprising decision this morning to allow insurance companies to revive health plans that have already been canceled. But he left it up to state insurance commissioners to decide whether to resurrect these policies — which don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act — or continue as planned and encourage people to buy new coverage with a broader range of benefits.

Washington’s commissioner Mike Kreidler opted to stay the course, and he didn’t mince words in making his choice:

I understand that many people are upset by the notices they have recently received from their health plans and they may not need the new benefits today. But I have serious concerns about how President Obama’s proposal would be implemented and more significantly, its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market.

In Washington state, most of the 290,000 people with individual policies already have received letters from their insurance companies telling them their plans are being canceled at the end of the year. These plans failed to meet all of the new health insurance requirements, including providing 10 “essential benefits” such as maternity care, prescription drugs and preventive care, and limiting out-of-pocket expenses at $6,350 per person.

All 90,181 people with insurance coverage from Regence BlueShield have learned their plans will be canceled, as did all 60,000 people covered by Group Health Cooperative. Some 77,000 people with LifeWise Health Plan, a subsidiary of Premera Blue Cross, also learned their plans were being scrapped.


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, health insurance, Mike Kreidler

October 22, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Update: Molina now includes Seattle Children’s in exchange plans’ networks

Seattle Children’s has filed an administrative action requesting that the state insurance office remove from the state exchange health insurance plans  that don’t include the medical center in their networks. The action, filed Tuesday, requests that the Office of the Insurance Commissioner remove the majority of plans from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Only two…


Comments | Topics: exchange, Mike Kreidler, Seattle Children's

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