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HealthCare Checkup

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

Topic: SHOP

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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

December 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Small businesses could get health insurance price break

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

Small employers in Washington will now have a shot at a tax break that could cut their health insurance costs in half.

Until an announcement made Tuesday it appeared that businesses in Washington would miss out on the health insurance subsidies beginning next year. The Affordable Care Act created the deal for small businesses that met certain size and income requirements and that bought their coverage through a new insurance exchange.

But nearly all of Washington won’t have this insurance exchange, which is called the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP. Under the original rules, that would have excluded approximately 100,000 small businesses here from the deal.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department to make tax credits available to Washington businesses buying insurance outside of SHOP. The announcement followed a Sunday story in The Seattle Times highlighting the exclusion of local employers from the program.

“Washington state has been a national leader in implementing the Affordable Care Act, and today’s announcement ensures that small businesses and their employees will have the same access to quality, affordable health plans as those on the individual market,” said Murray in an email statement.

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Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, Sen. Patty Murray, SHOP