WA insurance commissioner extends premium grace periods, orders more accountability to enrollees

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner announced Tuesday new orders to health insurers to protect Washingtonians against the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Mike Kriedler issued a second emergency order for health insurers to expand telehealth, testing coverage, and extend premium grace periods.

The order:
Expands coverage to additional methods (www.hhs.gov) for providing telehealth including telephone and video chat tools such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangout video, Skype and GoToMeeting.
Covers all medically-necessary diagnostic testing for flu and certain other viral respiratory illnesses billed during a provider visit for COVID-19 with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
Treats drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 as provider visit with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.

Additionally: 

People who receive a subsidy through Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange have a 90-day grace period for paying premium under the Affordable Care Act. Kreidler’s order creates a minimum 60-day premium grace period for unsubsidized enrollees in exchange individual health plans and for people enrolled in individual health plans sold outside of the exchange or in small and large employer health plans. Insurers may choose to extend the grace period beyond 60 days, but if they do so the extension must apply to all enrollees.

Kriedler commented, “These are critical times for all Washingtonians and we need to provide safe and flexible access to care. I want people to know we’re watching out for them and are all working together to make sure insurance coverage is one thing they don’t need to worry about.”

Read the whole release here.

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