Bloomberg Law
Aug. 10, 2020, 9:30 AM

Public Option Experiment Hits Speed Bump as Premiums Don’t Fall

Sara Hansard
Sara Hansard

Premiums aren’t dropping as predicted in Washington state’s first-in-the-nation experiment with offering health insurance plans based on Medicare rates.

Five insurers are offering 15 so-called public option plans for 2021, but their average proposed premium for 2021 is higher than what the state’s consumers typically paid for traditional Obamacare policies in 2020.

Washington’s experience setting up a public option plan highlights the difficulties for states weighing similar plans they hope will expand health-care coverage while driving down costs. Providers, especially hospitals, have been reluctant to agree to rates based on Medicare payments, which are lower than rates paid ...

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