Health insurance access
at 4:00pm by Joe Copeland
Update 4:47 p.m. The state is working on the details of expanding access to health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act. John Stang reports from Olympia:
Insurance providers backed a House bill to assess a yet-to-be-determined fee on health and dental insurance plans provided by a new Washington Health Benefits Exchange. The fee would cover the insurance companies' administrative costs under a portion of federal health care reform.
That backing came Monday at a hearing before the Senate Health Care Committee. No one opposed the bill. But most supporters wanted to make several technical tweaks to it. Supporters included Group Health, Premera Blue Cross, the Association of Washington Business and the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The bill by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, passed the House 69-29. The Health Benefits Exchange will begin enrolling people in October for health insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The Washington Health Benefits Exchange will be an online clearinghouse for people and small businesses to compare and enroll in health insurance programs– as well as gaining access to tax credits, cost sharing and programs such as Medicaid.