For Consumers

2017 legislative priorities

Legislative news

Surprise billing (ESHB 2114 "Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health services")

Surprise billing happens when a person is treated by a medical provider they believe is in their health plan network, but is not. In this situation, consumers will often be charged an additional amount by the provider over and above expected out-of-pocket costs. This bill would take consumers out of the middle of billing disputes between insurers and providers.

Medical privacy (SHB 1043 and SB 5124 "Addressing non-public personal health information")

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) routinely receives health care information as part of a consumer’s complaint or during our examinations of insurers. When we receive a public records request, we have no way to withhold this personal and sensitive information. This proposed bill would allow the OIC to protect the privacy of health information we receive.

Eliminate K-12 study (HB 1042 "Eliminating the Office of the Insurance Commissioner's school district or educational service district annual report")

In 2012, the legislature required every school district in the State of Washington and their insurers to submit annually to our office data about the health plans and benefit packages offered to district employees. Every year, our office is required to prepare and submit a report on this data. This bill would eliminate the requirement to submit data and prepare a report.

Amend small business retirement plan legislation (HB 1850 "The review of investment options to be included in the small business retirement marketplace")

In 2015, the legislature passed a bill creating a small business retirement marketplace regulated by the Department of Commerce. This bill contains a technical correction to make it clear that our agency's role in regulating the small business retirement marketplace is limited to confirming that life insurance or annuity products being sold in the small business retirement marketplace have been approved for sale in Washington state by the OIC.

Surplus line broker licensing (SHB 1027 and SSB 5007 "Addressing surplus line broker licensing")

This proposed legislation requires surplus line brokers to obtain an insurance producer license, except nonresident surplus line brokers who possess a surplus line broker license (or its equivalent) in their home state. Surplus line brokers moving to Washington state have 90 days to apply for a license without having to take the state exam.