OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state's insurance commissioner on Thursday announced that he's approved 31 plans that will be part of the state's new health exchange.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler said that he's authorized the individual health plans and rates of four health companies that will sell the plans in the exchange starting on Oct. 1. Of nine companies that applied to sell health plan in the exchange, the four that were approved are: Bridgespan, Group Health Cooperative, LifeWise and Premera Blue Cross.

"This is a real milestone for us," Kreidler said during a phone interview after the announcement.

The plans must receive final approval by the board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which is expected to issue a decision at a meeting later this month.

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