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Some insurance companies are choosing not to renew policies in wildfire-prone areas of the inland Northwest. That’s sending home owners scrambling to find new coverage for their properties.

FILE: Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' health care bill Thursday, June 22, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Problematic.

That's how Washington's Insurance Commissioner describes the federal health care bill proposed by Republican Senators.

Democratic Washington Senator Patty Murray at International Community Health Services in Seattle, June 16, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

Republican senators are expected to unveil their health care proposal Monday after working behind closed doors. And Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray has made it clear she doesn’t agree with it.

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1jxhkty

Millions of Americans will experience major changes to their health coverage if both chambers of Congress pass the Republican health care bill that's currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said thousands of people’s health coverage would be in jeopardy under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act replacement. In a meeting with the press Thursday, he expressed concern over the proposal, claiming it would cut benefits and increase costs.

Community health leaders like Teresita Batayola of ICHS worry about the future of ACA.
Courtesy of ICHS

The deadline to sign up for health coverage is coming up at the end of the month. So far, more Americans have enrolled for health insurance this year than in previous years. At the same time, Congress has taken steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler
Flickr photo/Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/K52qFP

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler estimates one million people in Washington have received health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.

He told KUOW's Ross Reynolds that without a plan in place from Republicans in Congress, those people could all lose insurance if Obamacare is repealed.


Author Daniel Dawes.
Brigitte Martin Mack

The Affordable Care Act will be seven years old this March if President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress haven't repealed it by then. 

The share of Oregonians and Washingtonians without health insurance has dropped dramatically under Obamacare. The uninsured rate is now at a historic low in the West Coast states.

Idaho has missed out on that trend, largely because the state until now has refused to expand Medicaid eligibility on the federal dime. Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature was teetering Friday on whether to end its holdout.

Idaho will remain among the 19 states resisting a key provision of Obamacare. The Idaho Legislature adjourned Friday without agreement on whether to explore an expansion of the Medicaid program.

With the start of a new year comes an increase in health care costs for many local employers and workers. The average increase for 2016 health plan premiums reviewed by the state insurance departments of Oregon, Washington and Idaho significantly exceeded the rate of inflation.

More Oregon employees will be able to take sick leave in the coming year. It's because of a new law taking effect in January.

As anyone with diabetes can tell you, managing the disease with insulin usually means regular checkups at the doctor's office to fine-tune the dosage, monitor blood-sugar levels and check for complications.

But here's a little known fact: Some forms of insulin can be bought without a prescription.

Carmen Smith did that for six years when she didn't have health insurance and didn't have a primary care doctor. She bought her insulin without a prescription at Wal-Mart.

Updated 7:38 p.m. May 12, 2015: This story has been updated to include more details and additional comments from the insurance industry.

Many companies reward their most loyal customers with incentives, discounts and freebies. But in car insurance, the opposite can actually happen. A driver can be punished with a higher premium just for being loyal to the company. 

It's called price optimization, and it happens to lots of people all the time. A driver could have no history of accidents but all of a sudden their car insurance goes up.

Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Monday filed a formal request for a federal disaster declaration. If this is granted, it means the survivors of the massive landslide near Oso, Washington, would be eligible for federal assistance. Many of them will be counting on that since they don’t have landslide insurance.

Oso Mudslide Victims Likely To Face Financial Woes

Mar 27, 2014
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Jim Davis, editor of the Herald Business Journal in Everett, about the bleak financial outlook facing Oso victims whose homes were damaged in the recent mudslide.

"There are 1.5 million single-family homes in the state of Washington. Only 4,700 homeowners and business owners have landslide insurance," Davis said.

Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Scott Burns, a geologist and landslide expert at Portland State University, about how he hopes the tragedy in Oso will lead to landslide insurance for homeowners and better landslide hazard maps to prevent future devastation.

Washington’s Health Exchange now has a formal name. It’s called “Washingtonhealthplanfinder.” The online program was designed to help people shop for individual or small group coverage. It will allow them to compare plans, and to see if they qualify for financial assistance. But it’s not live yet. The site is still under construction.  State officials hope to have the program up and running by next fall. They’re still deciding what kinds of plans will be sold.

You can follow the Exchange's progress, and learn more about it.