Washington State Insurance Commissioner Fines United Healthcare for Denying Women’s Health Claims

On September 13, 2018, Washington’s Insurance Commissioner entered into a Consent Order with United Healthcare regarding violations of Washington insurance law governing women’s health claims.  United Healthcare is a health care service contractor that sells individual and family health insurance coverage.

The Insurance Commissioner’s investigation was prompted by a consumer complaint that United Healthcare improperly denied coverage.  According to the complaint, United Healthcare told the consumer her claim was denied because she needed a referral for the women’s health services she received.

That violated Washington’s Direct Access law, which gives women the right to access women’s healthcare from the provider of their choice without having to obtain a referral.

In the course of the investigation, United Healthcare admitted it improperly denied similar claims for 276 insureds.  As a result, many women were improperly told they needed a referral in order to obtain coverage for medical treatment.

The investigation is a reminder to insureds to know their rights under Washington law, and to carefully scrutinize coverage denials to make sure the insurer followed the law.

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