The House passed several bills Tuesday afternoon, with some of those bills addressing hot-button issues that came up this legislative session. Prior authorization, health care costs and discrimination legislation were the subject of some of these bills.
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Senate Bill 5887 passed 95-0, which would change prior authorization standards applicable to health carriers. The amended bill that passed the House on Tuesday expands the prior authorization ban to also include any initial evaluation and management visits, as well as up to six treatments for chiropractic, physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture and Eastern medicine, massage therapy or speech and hearing therapy services. A medical necessity requirement, previously needed for these types of visits, is eliminated, and can no longer be a reason to deny coverage of those services. Similarly, payment for those types of care can’t be retroactively denied or refused after services are rendered.
Senate Bill 6051 also passed Tuesday 96-0, with two excused. The bill exempts employer-sponsored and union-sponsored prescription drug plans that supplement only Medicare Part D coverage from health insurance plan regulations. Specifically, prescription drug coverage provided through Medicare Part D and paid for by an employer or union would not fall under the term “health plan” as defined by the state.
Senate Bill 6052 exempts life insurance providers from insurance rebate and inducement statutes if that insurer offers products or services intended to incentivize behavioral changes of the insured. Insurance companies that provide this type of product or service are allowed to offer these benefits as non-insurance benefits associated with a life insurance policy as approved by the Insurance Commissioner. Under the bill, the Insurance Commissioner could adopt rules that ensure minimum standards for these products and services in order to protect policyholder rights and privacy. The Insurance Commissioner can also establish standards for ensuring these benefits actually reduce risks and impose other consumer protections.
Senate Bill 5165 expands the state’s efforts to protect individuals from discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status. The Washington Law Against Discrimination, currently in effect, would include immigration and citizenship status and only allows for differential treatment based on immigration or citizenship status under federal or state law already in effect.
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