Monday, November 30, 2015

Health insurers must provide transparency tools to consumers on Jan. 1

Health insurers are required to provide transparency tools via their websites starting Jan. 1, 2016, to consumers who are enrolled in their plans. The tools provide information about treatment costs, quality of care and other patients’ experience with the medical providers. These tools have not been readily available to consumers before now. The requirement is in the Affordable Care Act and is being implemented in Washington state now.

Each insurer must provide written verification to the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner by Feb. 1 of each year that the company is in compliance with this state law, which was enacted by the 2014 Legislature. The OIC provides a form for health insurers to fill out and send to us, called an attestation. We are required to post the form 60 days before it's due.

You can read more about the rules the OIC wrote to implement this requirement, which were recently adopted, or about the state law (RCW 48.43.007). The OIC also provided instructions and the attestation form for insurers to return to us by Feb. 1, 2016.