Starting tomorrow, Washington Health Benefits Exchange will no longer accept payments for customers insurance. Instead, insurers will be paid directly. Customers will now receive monthly invoices and payment information directly from their insurance companies. According to the Exchange, the switch is in response to nearly two years of issues.
“This change will be beneficial to our customers while also improving account coordination between the Exchange and insurance companies,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “By taking the Exchange out of the payment process, customers and insurance companies can work directly on any accounting-related issues. This frees the Exchange to do what we do best, providing easy comparison of health plans, access to financial assistance and help with enrollment.”
Last December, the Exchange Board voted for this change to address billing and invoicing concerns brought forward by both customers and insurance companies. The Exchange has billed and collected premium payments for health insurance coverage since opening Oct. 1, 2013.
“This was something our Board felt was important to do for customers and have completed prior the upcoming open enrollment period (Nov. 1, 2015 –Jan. 31, 2016),” added MacEwan.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said his office received hundreds of complaints about the Exchange over the years. He feels the change is something that will benefit everyone.
“Once they got into it, it didn’t work very well. I think it will be better for consumers if they allow the insurance companies to do the premium aggregation. That’s how it’s worked historically. They have the resources and the ability to do it rather than having the exchange do it,” said Kreidler.
If you just made your payment, the Exchange will send the check right back to you. 33% of enrollees are on an electronic pay system and are should close those accounts. Finally, you may want to let your insurance company know your payment may be delayed for this month. Kreidler also encouraged customers to continue to take advantage of the Health Plan Finder website.
“They can go and make the determination on whether you’re eligible for a subsidy or not or whether you’re eligible for apple health or whether you don’t receive any subsidy but you just want to take a look at the other plans, that’s where you go to have the shopping experience,” said Kreidler.
Click here to read the Exchange’s full press release on the change.