HCA identifies apparently successful bidders for proposed Cascade Care public option plans

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HCA identifies apparently successful bidders for proposed Cascade Care public option plans

Health Care Authority (HCA) is pleased to announce that through our Cascade Care public option procurement process, we have identified five carriers as apparently successful bidders (ASBs). Even with COVID-19 hitting our state the same week this procurement was released, the ASBs proposed a coverage plan for nearly every Washington county.

The Cascade Care public option ASBs are:

  • Bridgespan
  • Community Health Network of Washington
  • Coordinated Care
  • LifeWise
  • UnitedHealthcare

Next steps

While we’ve reached a significant milestone in selecting the Cascade Care public option ASBs, we have more work to do. This includes:

  • Review and approval of health plan filings by Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC).
  • Contract negotiations and final review with HCA.
  • Final certification of plan offerings with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (HBE) Board of Directors. 

As we learn more about COVID-19, we anticipate continued refinement to Cascade Care proposed plans, including reduced cost sharing to consumers.

About Cascade Care

In 2019, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5526, called Cascade Care. The goals of Cascade Care are to increase the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market, and ensure the residents of Washington have a choice of qualified health plans. Enrollment for any Cascade Care plan begins November 1, 2020, with coverage being effective January 1, 2021.

As part of this legislation, Governor Inslee asked three agencies to take leading roles with implementing Cascade Care: Washington HBE, HCA, and OIC.

Cascade Care is made up of three parts:

  1. Standard plans, which are qualified health plans designed to be more understandable, affordable, and of more value for Washington Healthplanfinder customers.
  2. Public option plans, which are similar to the standard plans, but carriers must meet additional quality and value requirements.
  3. A subsidy study, which implements state premium subsidies for Washington Healthplanfinder customers with incomes up to 500 percent Federal Poverty Level.

Roles of each agency

  • HBE is the lead agency for developing Cascade Care plan design and responsible for offering this new coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. HBE will also be overseeing the subsidy study directed by the Legislature.
  • HCA is responsible for procuring the public option plans under Cascade Care.
  • OIC is responsible for review and approval of health plan filings, including rates, essential health benefits, and network access standards.

For more information about Cascade Care, visit the HBE website.