Washington State Enacts “Public Option” Health Insurance Plan

This week, Washington State passed a new law designed to offer consumers a so-called "pubic option" for buying health insurance.  The general idea is that the state will launch its own health insurance program to compete with the marketplace.  Unlike Medicare or Medicaid, anyone would have the option to purchase coverage through the "public option." …

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Aetna Settles Wrongful Depression Treatment Denial Allegations

On February 15, 2019, Aetna Inc. announced a settlement of allegations Aetna wrongfully denied mental health treatment.  The plaintiff and a group of Aetna insureds had filed a class action lawsuit under ERISA alleging Aetna wrongfully denied health insurance for a specific treatment for major depression called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation ("TMS"). The lawsuit alleges Aetna …

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Aetna Fined Over Autism And Substance Abuse Coverage

State regulators in Pennsylvania fined health insurer Aetna  this week, for violating rules on coverage of drug and alcohol abuse treatment and coverage of autism spectrum disorder. A federal law called the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act generally forbids health carriers from discriminating against coverage for mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders.  …

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Happy New Year – Washington Health Insurers Are Now Required to Expand Contraceptive Coverage

In 2019, Washington health insurers are required to expand contraceptive coverage. Any health plan in Washington issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1 must now provide coverage for the following: All FDA-approved contraceptives, including drugs and devices; and Voluntary sterilization procedures. The new law also requires coverage for consultations, examinations and procedures necessary to obtain …

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Texas Judge Strikes Down Affordable Care Act

A federal judge in Texas has ruled the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a "Obamacare") can no longer be enforced.  The judge determined the Act cannot function without its individual mandate requiring virtually all Americans to carry minimum health coverage.  Congress repealed the ACA's individual mandate at the end of 2017. If the ruling becomes the law …

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