Washington consumers who want health insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1 must renew or sign up and make their first payment by 5 p.m. today. So far only half of the 130,000 customers who currently have health insurance purchased through the state’s online exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, have taken steps to renew their plans for 2015. Most of…More
Topic: Mike Kreidler
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Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler grabbed national attention last year when he broke with President Obama’s efforts to mollify a public upset by canceled insurance plans. Of late, Kreidler has been openly critical of the state’s botched efforts to make repairs to the online insurance exchange. But Kreidler remains a champion of the effort to make universal…More
Washington residents will be able to recover some of their medical costs for certain mental health services. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is sending letters instructing insurance companies to identify and inform policyholders whose insurance claims were denied for mental-health care that they have a right to have those claims re-evaluated, provided that they were…More
Most Washington residents who bought individual health insurance through the state’s marketplace will be able to automatically renew their coverage for 2105 without taking any additional steps. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the marketplace, is sending out renewal letters to its customers beginning this week. Insurance companies are sending their own letters to inform…More
A nearly yearlong dispute in which Seattle Children’s hospital sought to make sure its facilities and experts were included in Washington state health insurance plans was finally resolved Tuesday. Children’s and Cambia Health Solutions, parent company of Regence BlueShield and BridgeSpan Health, announced that the hospital will be part of the insurers’ network of health-care providers. “This…More
By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP The Associated Press A major fix to problems plaguing the state’s answer to health-care reform was announced Thursday, allowing exchange customers to pay insurers directly, as they do in some other states. While direct payments already have been an option, Gov. Jay Inslee, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange made…More
In a letter Wednesday to health insurance companies, the state makes clear that it is illegal to discriminate against transgender policyholders under both state law and the federal Affordable Care Act. Specifically, an insurance company cannot deny services for a transgender person solely on the basis of gender status. Additionally, the health insurer must pay…More
Seattle Children’s hospital on Tuesday made another move in the high-profile legal tussle over which facilities and doctors must be included in insurance plan networks in order to adequately protect customers.
The case — already significant because of the importance of the network adequacy debate — became even more controversial following allegations that the judge overseeing the dispute has been unfairly influenced. The allegations came from the judge herself, Patricia Petersen, chief presiding officer at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The controversy started last summer, when the OIC approved insurance plans to be sold in Washington’s health insurance marketplace. Those plans included ones that did not have Seattle Children’s in their coverage. In response, the hospital demanded a hearing with OIC, arguing that the plans are inadequate for failing to include their facility because of the unique services provided there.
There has not been a hearing yet, but from December to early May, Petersen has issued orders concerning the case.More
State senators on Monday heard testimony as to whether people and companies who challenge rulings by some state agencies are getting a fair shake.
Specifically, the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee held a work session to delve into the role of the administrative hearing officer that presides over disputes at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. They were considering three ideas that could be shaped into proposed laws that would give the hearing officers greater independence when deciding cases.
The work session was held in response to a high-profile dispute in which the OIC’s Chief Presiding Officer Patricia Petersen says she was inappropriately contacted by an OIC official and pressured to decide cases in line with what Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wanted.More
Patricia Petersen, recently suspended as the state insurance office’s chief hearings officer, will break her silence to speak at a Senate work session later this month. Her lawyer, Phil Talmadge, a former state Supreme Court justice who as a state legislator helped create a state office for administrative hearings, said she will speak about judicial independence,…More