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Clark Co. May Not Have Enough Insurance Choices, Politicians Complain

OPB | Aug. 28, 2013 12:08 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 3, 2014 2:20 p.m.

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Politicians from Southwest Washington have written to the state to complain that Clark County isn’t going to have a good selection of health insurance plans when the new health exchange opens in October.

Sixteen politicians from both sides of the aisle wrote to ask Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to increase the choices.

They pointed out that four insurance companies were authorized to sell on the state’s new exchange. But only one is being offered in Clark County — effectively giving it a monopoly. Steve Valandra is a spokesman for the Insurance Commissioner’s Office.

Valandra explained, “Well, we share their concerns, but we can’t force insurance companies to sell polices where they don’t want to do it.”

Valandra says a larger choice may be available in 2015, if more companies meet state requirements.

Five companies were turned away this year. Valandra says some didn’t have a sufficient network of doctors, others didn’t offer retail pharmacies. One he says, wanted patients to drive 45 miles to see a cardiologist if there was an emergency.

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