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HealthCare Checkup

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

Topic: Office of the Insurance Commissioner

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

June 4, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Beleaguered insurance judge to speak at upcoming Senate session

Patricia Petersen, recently suspended as the state insurance office’s chief hearings officer, will break her silence to speak at a Senate work session later this month. Her lawyer, Phil Talmadge, a former state Supreme Court justice who as a state legislator helped create a state office for administrative hearings, said she will speak about judicial independence,…

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Comments | Topics: Jim Odiorne, Mike Kreidler, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

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…

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

May 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Kreidler removes hearings officer in Seattle Children’s case

Update| 5:25 p.m.: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has removed his hearings officer from adjudicating insurance cases, including the Seattle Children’s case currently under way. Deputy Commissioner Steve Valandra said Wednesday that Kreidler revoked Chief Presiding Officer Patricia Petersen’s delegation of authority, and the agency would immediately begin the search for another hearings officer. Petersen is on paid leave,…

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Comments | Topics: BridgeSpan Health Co., James Odiorne, network adequacy

May 13, 2014 at 4:03 PM

U.S. insurers pare costs and profits to benefit consumers

U.S. health insurance companies pared their expenditures and profits by $3 billion in 2011 and 2012, benefiting American consumers.

Insurers refunded $513 million to customers in 2012, down from $1 billion in 2011. The companies also shrank their profits and the amount spent on marketing, other administrative items and brokers’ fees by $1.4 billion during those years, according to an analysis released today by the Commonwealth Fund.

The rebates and savings are a result of the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio (MLR) provision, which aims to cut health-care costs and ensure that insurance companies work more efficiently.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Healthplanfinder

April 23, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Coordinated Care adds Seattle Children’s to network

Coordinated Care Health, whose “Ambetter” plans are sold through the Washington Healthplanfinder, has added Seattle Children’s to its network of providers. The insurer took a lot of heat last year for not including Seattle Children’s, which sued last year to force the insurance commissioner to require plans to include Children’s, arguing that it has unique services…

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Comments | Topics: Coordinated Care, Healthplanfinder, network adequacy

March 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Legislative review: health-care bills that lived and died in Olympia

State Capitol building in Olympia. Photo by MathTeacherGuy and used under Flickr's Creative Commons license.

State Capitol building in Olympia. Photo by MathTeacherGuy and used under Flickr’s Creative Commons license.

Thursday night marked the close of the 2014 legislative session. And despite a divided leadership — the Majority Coalition Caucus (Republican-powered) in the Senate while Democrats rule the House — some significant, as well as less important, health-care legislation made it to the finish.

Here’s what passed and moves to Gov. Jay Inslee, who will likely approve most, if not all, of the measures:

Boosting transparency, cutting costs, coordinating mental health care

Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2572 got most of its attention over a provision to create a publicly-accessible database containing medical cost and quality information. But the legislation, requested by Inslee and sponsored by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, does much more.

The bill includes strategies for improving mental-health care for low-income residents, has a plan for creating a system of measuring the quality of doctors, clinics and hospitals, and takes action on the Washington State Health Care Innovation Plan, a wide-reaching document that aims to cut medical costs.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, All-Payer Claims Database, 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…

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

November 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Exploring the Wild West of health insurance

Logo for Washington’s official insurance exchange. Washington state has gotten plenty of props for a health-insurance website that works better than most. At last count, 55,000 residents had enrolled in Medicaid or individual insurance through the state exchange. Yet Washington Healthplanfinder has its limitations. Some of the search functions, for example, still don’t quite…

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

August 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Commissioner settles with two previously rejected insurers for exchange

UPDATED 1:21 p.m. | State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced Friday that he has reached a settlement with two insurance carriers his office had earlier rejected for the state’s new online insurance marketplace. Kreidler said the settlement with Community Health Plan of Washington and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest would add 10 more health plans…

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Comments | Topics: Community Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Mike Kreidler

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