SEATTLE, Wash.- A new health insurance marketplace for small business owners is taking longer than expected to set up and will not be ready this fall as planned.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange instead will run a pilot project in a few counties for its small business program, starting in October 2013. They expect the small business insurance exchange will expand across the state in fall 2014 when more insurance companies get involved. The pilot project will only involve Kaiser.
Meanwhile, the insurance exchange for individuals will open as planned on Oct. 1. Nine insurance companies have expressed interest in selling 57 different health plans to individuals through the exchange.
The Health Benefit Exchange is Washington's answer to federal health insurance reform. State officials say the new marketplace will offer insurance with lower premiums and better coverage than many individuals have had access to.