Washington State: Kreidler follows NY's lead, orders insurers to waive deductibles & co-pays for coronavirus testing

This just in from the WA State Insurance Commissioner's office:

Kreidler orders Washington health insurers to waive deductibles and copays for coronavirus testing

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

March 5, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order to Washington state health insurers requiring them to waive copays and deductibles for any consumer requiring testing  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

Including #ShortAssPlans is a critical point here, both in terms of policy and public health, since STLDs normally aren't required to cover much of anything...that's one of the main reasons why their premiums are so much lower than ACA-compliant policies in the first place.

“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 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 to determine if they qualify for free health coverage or a special enrollment for individual health insurance. 

Additional information: