The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is exploring potential options for 2018 legislation intended to bend the curve downward on premiums, and increase consumer choices in the 2019 individual market. These options include applying for a 1332 state innovation waiver, implementing a reinsurance program, and other options for coverage in bare counties.
Balance billing (ESHB 2114 and SB 5579 "Protecting consumers from surprise billing for out-of-network health services")
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner will run ESHB 2114 in the 2018 legislative session which will establish the Balance Billing Protection Act. This act protects consumers from being billed for services they received in emergency services or in-patient surgeries, from an out-of-network provider, when the patient had no control over who provided their medical services.
The prime sponsor of ESHB 2114 is Rep. Cody. The prime sponsor of SB 5579 is Sen. Rivers. This bill is a carryover from the 2017 legislative session.
Supplemental budget request
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner will seek approximately $400,000 in the 2018 Supplemental budget to restore fund the agency is spending for consultant services to assist with the development of the market stabilization proposal which includes applying for a 1332 state innovation waiver, for the 2018 session.
The funds would come from the OIC's regulatory account.
Disaster resiliency program study
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner will run legislation that requests the legislature to conduct a study with the OIC. The study would focus on whether Washington state should establish a disaster resiliency program to evaluate whether such a program would be helpful in educating and preparing the public about lessening the impacts of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, wildfires and landslides, and if there is a need for insurance for such disasters to be offered by the program, as California does with their earthquake authority.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner will run legislation to clearly define what property and casualty issuers can to do potentially lower claims, such as foundation strapping or brush clearing, without violating Washington state's inducement laws.
Amendments to the NAIC Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Act
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure model act is being proposed for amendment to update the financial reporting requirements for insurers.
The NAIC Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committee is expected to vote this Dec. 2017, to make this an accreditation requirement with a state required adopted date of Jan. 1, 2020.
Amendments to the NAIC Holding Company Model Act
Amendments to the Holding Company Model Act would clarify the legal authority and power of a state to act as a group-wide supervisor for internationally active insurance groups (IAIGs). These amendments would also clarify the authority for domestic regulators to cooperate by requiring certain action by the insurance holding company system (IHCS). The NAIC is expected to vote on this in Dec. 2017.