October 25, 2022
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Three emergency orders issued by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler related to insurance coverage and COVID-19 expire on Oct. 31. The orders requiring health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing for COVID-19, protecting consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to medically necessary diagnostic testing and requiring insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling all expire when Washington state's state of emergency ends.
Kreidler's order waiving cost-sharing applied to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term, limited-duration medical plans. The order on surprise billing applied to both in-state and out-of-state laboratories when a provider orders diagnostic testing for COVID-19. Also, insurers had to:
- Allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs.
- Suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19.
In addition, if an insurer did not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing or treatment for COVID-19, it had to allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.
“I issued these orders to provide guidance to insurers and reassure the public that we would take all necessary steps to protect them," Kreidler.
Kreidler issued the first order on March 3, 2020 as the need for flexibility and added protections for consumers became apparent.