HCA identifies ASBs for proposed 2023 Cascade Select public option plans

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HCA identifies ASBs for proposed 2023 Cascade Select public option plans

Health Care Authority (HCA) is pleased to announce that through our Cascade Select procurement process, we have identified three carriers as apparently successful bidders (ASBs) for plan year 2023. This year’s procurement was a competitive selection process with priorities of quality, service areas, and proposed premiums, with an emphasis on affordability for Cascade Select customers.

The ASBs proposed plans may provide the most affordable coverage options in nearly every Washington county. The Cascade Select ASBs are:

  • Community Health Plan of Washington
  • Coordinated Care Corporation
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Washington

With this competitive selection:

  • Public option plans would be available in 34 counties, up from 25 in 2022, pending approval by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) and certification by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) Board.
  • Ninety-eight percent of current Exchange customers would have access to a public option plan.
  • Public option rates will be the lowest-premium silver plans in 25 counties, up from 13 this year, pending OIC approval and Exchange certification.

HCA, the Exchange, and OIC are focused on increasing access to public option plans across the state, while enhancing competition in the individual market and strengthening the tools that influence affordability and quality.    

Next steps

While we’ve reached a significant milestone in identifying the Cascade Select ASBs, we have more work to do. This includes:

  • The review and approval of health plan filings by OIC.
  • Contract negotiations and final review with HCA.
  • Final certification of plan offerings by the Exchange Board. 

About Cascade Select

In 2019, the Legislature established Cascade Care and created the first-ever public option known as Cascade Select. The goals of Cascade Care are to increase the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market.

Cascade Care plans have a standard benefit design that emphasize lower deductibles and provide access to services before having to pay the deductible. Customers can make “apples to apples” comparisons across different insurance carriers because the benefits are the same.

Washington’s public option plans, known as Cascade Select, have the same standard benefit design, along with additional quality and value requirements.

Cascade Select plans were first available on January 1, 2021.

Roles of each agency

Cascade Select is a multi-agency effort involving the Exchange, HCA, and OIC.  

  • The Exchange is the lead agency for the Cascade Care program and responsible for developing Cascade Care standard plan design. The Exchange Board certifies Cascade Care plans, and makes Cascade Select plans available through Washington Healthplanfinder.
  • HCA is responsible for procuring and contracting with Cascade Select plans.
  • 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 and Cascade Select, visit the Exchange’s website.