The Washington Health Insurance market offers individual health insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Washington by Regence, LifeWise Health Plan, and a few small regional PPOs. For some reason the big health insurance companies like Aetna, Humana, etc. never got into Washington.
The state risk pool in Washington offers coverage for high risk individuals and people with complicated medical situations. The WSHIP, or Washington State Health Insurance Pool offers HIPAA conversion plans, and additionally the WSHIP will cover residents of Washington if they have been declined within 90 days, or should they reside in a county in Washington where comprehensive health insurance is not offered. Apparently, in Washington the medical networks are not that strong and if you live in a remote area there might not be a medical plan for you.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance companies in Washington are not allowed to decline you, increase your rates or rider out conditions, which makes the individual market much more appealing these days. The state also set up a local marketplace for health insurance under the law known as Obamacare, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Through the exchange, Washingtonians can obtain coverage from private insurers at a lower cost as tax credits are issued to certain income level individuals. This creates greater opportunities to get insured, especially as it’s mandatory to enroll in a health plan.
Regence Blue Shield
With roots tracing back to the first BlueShield plan in the United States, Regence is a not-for-profit organization and the largest affiliation of health care Plans in the Pacific Northwest/Mountain region. The four Plans include Regence BlueShield (WA), Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.
The plans are priced pretty well, but in general the Washington health plans are all very similarly priced, more so than most states.
Group Health* is a nonprofit health care system that provides both medical coverage and care. Group Health and its subsidiary health carriers, Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, serve approximately 584,288 members in Washington and Idaho. More than 70 percent of members receive care in Group Health-owned medical facilities.
Group Health includes and owns the Group Health Cooperative; its research arm, the Group Health Center for Health Studies; Group Health Options, Inc.; KPS Health Plans (a former competitor of theirs); Group Health Permanente medical group (part of the Kaiser Permanente plans); and Group Health Community Foundation. These organizations – and the staff members who support them – share a common purpose to transform health care, working together to improve the care and well-being of members, patients, and communities. Group Health as you can see is one of the strongest health insurance companies in Washington and owe this fact to their vertical integration of hospitals and health plans (much like Kaiser Permanente)
Asuris Northwest Health
With roots tracing back to the first health plan in Washington, Asuris Northwest Health is a not-for-profit organization and fully-owned subsidiary of The Regence Group, which operates the largest affiliation of health care Plans in the Pacific Northwest/Mountain region including Regence Blue Cross which typifies the fact that there are quite a few companies offering health plans in Washington but only a couple of companies that own them.
KPS Health Plans
For more than 60 years KPS health plans have provided quality health insurance backed by outstanding customer service. Established in 1946 by the physicians of the Kitsap County Medical Society, KPS health plans are sold throughout Washington State.
KPS provides full access to more than 47,000 in-state providers through the KPS Participating Provider Network and the First Choice Health, and PHCS/MultiPlan Networks. Members are covered wherever they go in Washington state and beyond.
KPS feels that you deserve a quality health plan that works for you, not one tailored for someone in another state or industry. You deserve a plan backed by quality customer service located in Bremerton, and not from a call center in another state or country. KPS really seems to know your needs and have been in the state for more than six decades.