2014 Wash. Legislative Session A Mixed Bag For Insurance
|Targeted News Service|
The 2014 Legislative session ended
This year was a short 60-day session, which occurs every other year.
Insurance Company Solvency (House Bill 2461) (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2461) The Insurance Commissioner sponsored this bill,, which would have given us the tools needed to protect consumers from financial crises like the global recession of 2008. The bill included two model acts created by the NAIC to prevent such financial disaster from adversely affecting consumers.
One, called the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) Model Act, would require companies to create a plan for self-assessing and reporting their current and future financial information related to their two- to five-year business plans. This is designed to be an internal process for companies to ensure their solvency and to prevent financial disasters like the ones that occurred during the financial crisis of 2008.
The other, called the Holding Company Act, would enhance the Insurance Commissioner's s ability to monitor any insurance or other company under a parent company or holding company system. This bill would also give the Insurance Commissioner the appropriate tools to notify consumers when their investments or insurance policies are at great risk, in cases similar to Metropolitan Mortgage of
It may also have broader economic effects if insurers whose home headquarters is
This bill did not pass this session. The Insurance Commissioner will request the Holding Company Act next year.
Alien Insurer State of Entry (House Bill 1402/SB 5489) (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1402) This bill would have modernized the terms under which international insurance companies--called "alien insurers" in the industry--could enter the U.S. market through
Although it had broad bipartisan support, the legislation failed to get a final vote in the
Data Study Funding Restoration
Other bills that affect consumers
Health insurance consumers may also be interested in the following bills that have been sent to the
Senate Bill 6458 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6458&year=2013) requires the Insurance Commissioner to provide notice to the legislative health care committees about proposed rules that are related to health insurance. Others that must be notified are the
The Insurance Commissioner seeks comment on proposed rules from interested parties and related agencies; this bill merely formalizes existing practice.
House Bill 2572 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2572&year=2013), requested by the
Among other things, the bill sets up a claims database and requires all state-regulated health insurance plans to submit details about paid claims. Self-insured employers, regulated by the federal government, are encouraged to participate in the database, called an all-payer claims database. Fifteen other states use them as a transparency tool for consumers.
The secure, easy-to-use database will aim to inform consumers about the actual price and quality of services, enhancing competition and driving down health care costs.
Senate Bill 6228 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6228&year=2013) improves transparency tools for consumer information on health care costs and quality in two ways:
* Creates a committee to identify and recommend statewide measures of health performance to improve health care outcomes. Committee members will include state agencies, small and large employers, doctors, nurses, hospitals, the two largest health plans in
* Requires health insurance plans to offer online and mobile-friendly transparency tools to enrollees that include cost data for common treatments and prescription medications. Consumers would also have a place to leave online ratings and feedback about their experience with medical providers. They would also be able to get information about in-network providers that includes their contact information and location, credentials, links to any malpractice and disciplinary action, affiliations with hospitals and other providers. These transparency tools must be available in
Senate Bill 6511 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6511&year=2013) requires the Insurance Commissioner to establish a work group to develop recommendations for streamlining prior authorization of medical treatments and prescription drugs. The work group's recommendations are due to the Insurance Commissioner by
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