According to a report from Big Country News, Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has issued another extension of the state’s temporary, emergency health insurance billing requirements for COVID-19 testing. The rule preventing surprise billing related to COVID-19 tests will remain in place for at least another month. In this article, our Spokane insurance law attorneys provide a more detailed overview of the regulation.
Extension: COVID-19 Testing Billing Protections
On October 1st, 2021, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington issued an extension of the state’s emergency COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing and surprise billing regulations. The collection of insurance regulations are designed to help ensure that members of the public can get COVID-19 testing without worrying about insurance costs. Here are three key things that people and families in Spokane should know about the latest insurance guidance from Washington state regulators:
- No Cost-Sharing for COVID-19 Testing: All health insurance plans regulated by the State of Washington are required to waive all cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing. In other words, insurers should pick up the tab for any COVID-19 testing that is not already subsidized by another party. They cannot bill a policyholder for these costs while emergency regulations are in place.
- Strict Ban on Surprise Billing for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing: Insurers subject to Washington State regulations cannot engage in “surprise billing” for any medically necessary COVID-19 diagnostic testing. These types of surprise bills are unlawful in the state while these emergency insurance rules are in place.
- Effective Until October 31st, 2021 (But Could Be Extended Again): This emergency insurance billing regulation has already been extended multiple times by Washington regulators. Currently, it will go until at least October 31st, 2021. However, it could be extended again if deemed warranted by public health conditions.
Insurance Companies Must Comply With State Regulations
While there are some federal insurance regulations in place, many insurance issues are governed at the state level. All insurance companies that offer policies in Washington—whether it is health coverage, automobile coverage, long-term disability coverage, or any other type of insurance—have a legal obligation to comply with all applicable state regulations.
When an insurance company violates that law, it could face civil sanctions and potentially be held liable for policyholder or beneficiary damages in the form of a bad faith claim. If you were treated unfairly by an insurance company in eastern Washington, call an experienced Spokane insurance denial lawyer for immediate help.
We Wrote the Book on Insurance Law in Washington
At Albrecht Law PLLC, we wrote the book on insurance in Washington. Our law firm works tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of policyholders and other beneficiaries—not the state’s largest insurance companies. If your insurance claim was denied or you are having any other issue with your carrier, we can help. Call us now or use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation. With a law office in Spokane, we provide insurance claims representation throughout the region.