Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Premera Blue Cross of Washington (Premera) should use the bulk of the $390 million tax benefit it announced to provide enhanced choice and lower costs for its policyholders in Washington’s health insurance market.
According to Premera’s 2017 annual statement, the company will receive previously accumulated tax benefits totaling $390 million. This is due to a change made under the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act that requires all Blue Cross Blue Shield companies to claim any previously unused accumulated tax credits. Additional tax changes, including a change to the corporate tax rate, may impact Premera and other insurers at a later date.
“I expect that Premera will live up to its commitment to help stabilize Washington state’s individual health insurance market by using this tax benefit to bolster services and keep premiums as low as possible for consumers,” Kreidler said.
“I welcome their plan to help stabilize the market in our state,” Kreidler added. “I also welcome Premera’s commitment made to me earlier this year to offer health plans in counties in 2019 that might not have any other insurer. I will closely review any premium proposals by Premera and other health insurers for 2019 to determine if they are taking appropriate action to keep costs for consumers as low as possible. I’m confident that Premera will use this tax benefit to help the people of the state of Washington by enhancing their capabilities to improve access and affordability of health insurance in our state – especially in the rural areas.”