March 5, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order to Washington state health insurers requiring them to waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing (www.doh.wa.gov) for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Insurers also must:
- 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 does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing and treatment for COVID-19, it must allow enrollees to be treated by another provider within a reasonable distance at no additional cost.
The order is effective immediately and applies to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term limited duration medical plans until May 4, 2020.
“Consumers are rightly concerned about prevention, testing and possible treatment,” Kreidler said. “My emergency order provides guidance to health insurers and should help reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to protect them.”
Kreidler is using powers granted to him following the recent statewide emergency that Gov. Jay Inslee declared to protect Washington residents against the spread of the coronavirus.
When the governor issues an emergency proclamation, the commissioner can issue an emergency order (leg.wa.gov) related to health care coverage to ensure access to care. The order lasts 60 days and can be extended by the commissioner for an additional 30 days, as long as the governor’s emergency proclamation remains in effect.
Kreidler urged state residents without health insurance to contact the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (www.wahealthplanfinder.org) to determine if they qualify for free health coverage (www.hca.wa.gov) or a special enrollment for individual health insurance.