|Premera Blue Cross, one of the largest medical insurance plan carriers in the state, and its subsidiary LifeWise of Washington have both announced that as of January 1st, 2017, they will no longer be offering individual and family medical insurance plans in several counties throughout Washington State. The counties affected will be:
Douglas Pend Oreille
Ferry San Juan*
Members in these areas will need to actively select a new carrier for 2017 coverage. This must be completed between November 1st, 2016 and December 23rd, 2016 in order to prevent a gap in coverage.
*We service several clients throughout San Juan and Skagit counties. Please note that if you live in these areas, you will need to take action during Open Enrollment.
Open Enrollment will begin Nov 1, 2016.
Individual and family Premera/LifeWise medical insurance plans will no longer be offering the option of applying direct in 2017. All Premera/LifeWise plans must be purchased using the Washington Healthplanfinder site, www.wahealthplanfinder.org for 2017. Members who purchased their coverage directly from Premera likely will receive plan cancellation letters later this year due to the coverage no longer being available for purchase off the of the Washington Health Benefits Exchange. Direct members will need to take action to apply on the Exchange for 2017 if they wish to continue coverage with Premera.
Other carrier announcements:
This past April, United Healthcare announced that due to low enrollment in 2016, they will not be offering individual health plans in Washington State as of January 1st, 2017. All United Healthcare clients must actively select a new plan and carrier for 2017. The withdrawal will “likely have little to no effect on the Exchange’s individual market where UHC had less than 2% of the enrollment. However, this will affect the Exchange’s small business marketplace where UHC was providing insurance products statewide,” says Molly Voris, Policy Director for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange in a recent State of Reform article.