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48.21.310  <<  48.21.320 >>   48.21.325

RCW 48.21.320

Temporomandibular joint disorders — Insurance coverage.

(1) Except as provided in this section, a group disability policy entered into or renewed after December 31, 1989, shall offer optional coverage for the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders.

     (a) Insurers offering medical coverage only may limit benefits in such coverages to medical services related to treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders. Insurers offering dental coverage only may limit benefits in such coverage to dental services related to treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders. No insurer offering medical coverage only may define all temporomandibular joint disorders as purely dental in nature, and no insurer offering dental coverage only may define all temporomandibular joint disorders as purely medical in nature.

     (b) Insurers offering optional temporomandibular joint disorder coverage as provided in this section may, but are not required to, offer lesser or no temporomandibular joint disorder coverage as part of their basic group disability contract.

     (c) Benefits and coverage offered under this section may be subject to negotiation to promote broad flexibility in potential benefit coverage. This flexibility shall apply to services to be reimbursed, determination of treatments to be considered medically necessary, systems through which services are to be provided, including referral systems and use of other providers, and related issues.

     (2) Unless otherwise directed by law, the insurance commissioner shall adopt rules, to be implemented on January 1, 1993, establishing minimum benefits, terms, definitions, conditions, limitations, and provisions for the use of reasonable deductibles and copayments.

     (3) An insurer need not make the offer of coverage required by this section to an employer or other group that offers to its eligible enrollees a self-insured health plan not subject to mandated benefit statutes under Title 48 RCW that does not provide coverage for temporomandibular joint disorders.

[1989 c 331 § 2.]

Notes:

     Legislative finding -- 1989 c 331: "The legislature finds that:

     (1) Temporomandibular joint disorders are conditions for which treatment often is not covered in medical and dental group insurance contracts;

     (2) Individuals with temporomandibular joint disorders experience substantial pain and financial hardship;

     (3) Public awareness is needed concerning temporomandibular joint disorders and would be promoted by a mandated offering of temporomandibular joint disorders coverage to group purchasers; and

     (4) A mandated offering of temporomandibular joint disorders coverage shall not prescribe minimum initial benefits so that the insurers and the purchasers are allowed broad flexibility in benefit design and application." [1989 c 331 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 1989 c 331: "This act shall take effect January 1, 1990, but the insurance commissioner may immediately take such steps as are necessary to ensure that this act is fully implemented on its effective date." [1989 c 331 § 6.]