As of April, members of the Spokane Home Builders Association can no longer re-enroll in a state group's health insurance program, because of an exclusive provider contract.
Earlier this year, the Spokane group that represents contractors and real estate industry professionals formed a new insurance program called the Washington Builders Alliance Trust, which uses Premera Blue Cross as the provider. The Wenatchee-based North Central Home Builders Association also has moved over to that trust.
The Building Industry Associa- tion of Washington has published information saying a contract it has with Regence, which operates Asuris Northwest Health in Eastern Washington, requires an exclusive endorsement by an affiliated local association. Consequently, Spokane and Wenatchee association members can't re-enroll in the state group's program at the end of the annual enrollment period.
Joel White, the Spokane association's executive officer, says the group's leaders decided to create a separate insurance trust plan effective last Jan. 1 to seek more competitive rates and have greater control. However, White says the Spokane association found out after it formed the new trust program that Regence requires the exclusive endorsement.
White says, "We were hoping we could endorse both programs, but we were told we could only endorse the one. We do promote and endorse the Washington Builder Alliance Trust."
The Spokane Home Builders Association has about 800 members, including general contractors, developers, real estate professionals, architects, excavators, plumbers, electricians, and financial institutions.
White says that its members have a number of health insurance options in addition to the association's offering, including choosing plans in the open market.
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