A bill we requested, Senate Bill 5247, was approved by a key state Senate committee last night.
The bill would allow us, when considering premium rates proposed by non-profit health insurers, to take into account the large surpluses that the companies have built up in recent years. (Surpluses are not the same thing as reserves. Theres' been some confusion out there on this point.)
These surpluses have grown dramatically over the past decade. The state's three major nonprofit health insurers together now have more than $2.4 billion in surplus.
Meanwhile, the cost of individual health policies more than doubled from 2005 to 2011.
At least 11 other states, including neighboring Oregon, have the authority to consider surpluses when reviewing rates. We think it's time Washington did the same.