Rep. Norm Johnson helps restore individual health insurance for Klickitat County in 2018

Rep. Norm Johnson says two health insurers have stepped up to offer individual health insurance in Klickitat County in 2018.

Earlier this month when insurers submitted their 2018 coverage plans to the Insurance Commissioner’s office, none offered to cover Klickitat and Grays Harbor counties for individual health care plans.

Johnson, R-Yakima, said he’s been working with Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler to address the potential lack of coverage in Klickitat County.

“As soon as I learned hundreds of people in Klickitat County may have no health insurance options next year, I contacted Representative Cody and we went to work with the Insurance Commissioner’s office to convince insurers to reconsider,” said Johnson. “I was notified Monday by Commissioner Kriedler that Molina Healthcare of Washington and BridgeSpan Health Company have agreed to offer plans in Klickitat County for 2018.”

Johnson said the two carriers will offer plans inside the state Exchange, Washingtonhealthplanfinder, which provides premium subsidies for those who qualify. More than 80 percent of people enrolled through the Exchange in Klickitat County receive an average monthly subsidy of $369. BridgeSpan will also offer plans outside of the Exchange in Klickitat County.

Since the original notification of no coverage for the two counties, Premera Blue Cross has agreed to provide individual health insurance for Grays Harbor County in 2018. Johnson noted rural coverage has been difficult to obtain because of fewer customers and higher costs for carriers.

“I wish to thank Commissioner Kriedler and Representative Cody for their work to ensure our citizens have access to health care coverage in Klickitat County. This is good news for now, but we need to do more to attract coverage from additional carriers and create a competitive marketplace that will be good for the consumer and the insurer,” said Johnson.

Johnson added he and Cody are looking into legislation that would prevent future coverage gaps in rural Washington.


Washington State House Republican Communications