And In a Big Step Forward for the Exchange, the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Finishes Vetting All 301 New Health Plans WASHINGTON, July 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The big health insurer Kaiser Permanente lowered the rates it is proposing to charge customers through the District's new DC Health Link insurance exchange by 4.4 percent for small-business employees and half a percent for individuals. Three of the four insurers on the exchange have now lowered prices since the companies for the first time disclosed their proposed rates publicly last month. The other two are United HealthCare, which previously dropped rates by more than 10 percent, and recently cut them almost another 5 percent; and Aetna, which cut more than 5 percent. CareFirst is the fourth company on the exchange. The Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking has now approved all 301 plans for DC Health Link, an array large enough to offer customers a huge choice. Because prices on the online exchange will be transparent and easy to compare when it opens Oct. 1, they will be far more competitive for the individuals and small businesses who will buy insurance through DC Health Link. "These lower rates are more incontrovertible proof DC Health Link is already bringing competition to the insurance market," said William P. White, commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. "Kudos to the companies and the way they have adjusted quickly and adroitly to this new market." Said Mila Kofman, J.D., executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority: "It is exciting to see that insurance companies in the District are already aggressively competing for business through the online marketplace. Our approach shows that fair and transparent standards lead to real private market competition based on price and quality. "Individual and small business purchasers will have affordable options and over 300 products to choose from when buying coverage though DC Health Link. Commissioner White and his team performed a Herculean task in reviewing over 300 products and rates in a short period of time. I appreciate their commitment, reallocation of resources, and making full implementation one of their top priorities."