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New State Website Offers Info on Health Rates

If you’ve ever wondered why your health insurance rate has gone up, that information is now public. Washington State’s Office of Insurance Commissioner has a new website that can help explain that.

Whenever an insurance company wants to raise rates for individual or small group plans, the Insurance Commissioner's Office reviews those requests. In the past, the agency could approve or reject the new rates, but it couldn't release any information behind the decision.

That changed earlier this year. Lawmakers passed a bill that allows the public to see how much of the premium goes toward medical claims, administrative costs, and company profit.

The new website allows the public to see proposed rate changes, and comment on the proposal. It also allows people to sign up for email alerts when their insurer files for a rate change, and when a decision is made.

The website was made possible by a federal grant under the Affordable Care Act.
At the moment there are eight rate requests pending, including those from Group Health and Regence Blue Shield.

On the Web:

Wash. Health insurance rate changes site:

Copyright 2011 KUOW.