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48.43.023  <<  48.43.025 >>   48.43.028

RCW 48.43.025

Group health benefit plans — Preexisting conditions.

(1) For group health benefit plans for groups other than small groups, no carrier may reject an individual for health plan coverage based upon preexisting conditions of the individual and no carrier may deny, exclude, or otherwise limit coverage for an individual's preexisting health conditions; except that a carrier may impose a three-month benefit waiting period for preexisting conditions for which medical advice was given, or for which a health care provider recommended or provided treatment within three months before the effective date of coverage. Any preexisting condition waiting period or limitation relating to pregnancy as a preexisting condition shall be imposed only to the extent allowed in the federal health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996.

     (2) For group health benefit plans for small groups, no carrier may reject an individual for health plan coverage based upon preexisting conditions of the individual and no carrier may deny, exclude, or otherwise limit coverage for an individual's preexisting health conditions. Except that a carrier may impose a nine-month benefit waiting period for preexisting conditions for which medical advice was given, or for which a health care provider recommended or provided treatment within six months before the effective date of coverage. Any preexisting condition waiting period or limitation relating to pregnancy as a preexisting condition shall be imposed only to the extent allowed in the federal health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996.

     (3) No carrier may avoid the requirements of this section through the creation of a new rate classification or the modification of an existing rate classification. A new or changed rate classification will be deemed an attempt to avoid the provisions of this section if the new or changed classification would substantially discourage applications for coverage from individuals or groups who are higher than average health risks. These provisions apply only to individuals who are Washington residents.

[2001 c 196 § 9; 2000 c 79 § 23; 1995 c 265 § 6.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2001 c 196: See note following RCW 48.20.025.

     Effective date -- Severability -- 2000 c 79: See notes following RCW 48.04.010.

     Captions not law -- Effective dates -- Savings -- Severability -- 1995 c 265: See notes following RCW 70.47.015.