Court Confirms Health Insurers Can’t Sell Discriminatory Insurance Policies

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Washington and other west coast states) is having a busy summer for insurance cases. On the heels of recent decisions regarding attorneys' fees in ERISA-governed insurance disputes and insurers' duty to reasonably investigate insurance claims comes the July 14, 2020 ruling in Schmitt …

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Policyholders Can Sue for Health Insurer’s Refusal to Cover Proton Beam Therapy Cancer Treatment Says Washington Supreme Court

On October 3, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court decided Strauss v. Premera Blue Cross, holding the Strausses could sue Premera Blue Cross for denying coverage for Proton Beam Therapy to treat prostate cancer. Mr. Strauss had a Premera health insurance policy. The policy promised Premera would pay for “medically necessary” treatment. Mr. Strauss was diagnosed …

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Washing State’s “homegrown” health insurers credited with keeping rate increases low

Preliminary reports suggest Washington State's Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) plans will see minimal rate increases in 2020. Washington State exchange plans are projected to see a 1% average rate increase, lower than almost half of other states in the U.S. Washington's Insurance Commissioner reportedly credited Washington-based health plans with the low increases. Washington-based insurers …

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Washington State Bans Surprise Medical Billing

We previously blogged about the push by Washington's Insurance Commissioner to ban so-called surprise medical billing, i.e., where an insured gets hit with a huge bill for medical treatment despite going to an in-network provider or seeking emergency care.  In those circumstances, the insurer claims the hospital's bill is too high and refuses to pay, …

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