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Originally published Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 8:53 PM

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State board delays certifying exchange health plans

An earlier decision to delay certification came last week, when the board said it wanted to give more health plans an opportunity to make their case for being included in the exchange.

Special to The Seattle Times

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The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board has again delayed certification of health plans to be offered through the state’s new online health-insurance marketplace for 2014.

“We don’t need to rush a vote today,” Teresa Mosqueda told fellow board members.

Mosqueda, legislative and policy director of the Washington State Labor Council and chairwoman of the Healthy Washington Coalition, warned that if the board proceeded with certification Thursday, some members might vote against certifying plans already approved by the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) because they believe those that were rejected have not received a full hearing.

An earlier decision to delay certification came last week, when the board said it wanted to give more health plans an opportunity to make their case for being included in the exchange.

The OIC at the end of July announced it had approved 31 individual insurance plans from four carriers and had rejected applications from five carriers.

The decision to delay came in a 6-2 vote, with Melanie Curtice, a partner at the law firm Stoel Rives, and Doug Conrad, professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health the only “no” votes.

Curtice urged the board not to delay certification, a necessary step for the plans to be offered on the exchange. “We have an obligation to move this forward in a way that supports the staff and the issuers that have made it through the approval process,” she said.

The board’s next meeting is Wednesday.

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