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48.46.045  <<  48.46.060 >>   48.46.062

RCW 48.46.060

Prepayment agreements — Standards for forms and documents — Grounds for disapproval — Cancellation or failure to renew — Filing of agreement forms.

(1) Any health maintenance organization may enter into agreements with or for the benefit of persons or groups of persons, which require prepayment for health care services by or for such persons in consideration of the health maintenance organization providing health care services to such persons. Such activity is not subject to the laws relating to insurance if the health care services are rendered directly by the health maintenance organization or by any provider which has a contract or other arrangement with the health maintenance organization to render health services to enrolled participants.

     (2) All forms of health maintenance agreements issued by the organization to enrolled participants or other marketing documents purporting to describe the organization's comprehensive health care services shall comply with such minimum standards as the commissioner deems reasonable and necessary in order to carry out the purposes and provisions of this chapter, and which fully inform enrolled participants of the health care services to which they are entitled, including any limitations or exclusions thereof, and such other rights, responsibilities and duties required of the contracting health maintenance organization.

     (3) Subject to the right of the health maintenance organization to demand and receive a hearing under chapters 48.04 and 34.05 RCW, the commissioner may disapprove an individual or group agreement form for any of the following grounds:

     (a) If it contains or incorporates by reference any inconsistent, ambiguous, or misleading clauses, or exceptions or conditions which unreasonably or deceptively affect the risk purported to be assumed in the general coverage of the agreement;

     (b) If it has any title, heading, or other indication which is misleading;

     (c) If purchase of health care services thereunder is being solicited by deceptive advertising;

     (d) If it contains unreasonable restrictions on the treatment of patients;

     (e) If it is in any respect in violation of this chapter or if it fails to conform to minimum provisions or standards required by the commissioner by rule under chapter 34.05 RCW; or

     (f) If any agreement for health care services with any state agency, division, subdivision, board, or commission or with any political subdivision, municipal corporation, or quasi-municipal corporation fails to comply with state law.

     (4) In addition to the grounds listed in subsection (2) of this section, the commissioner may disapprove any agreement if the benefits provided therein are unreasonable in relation to the amount charged for the agreement. Rates, or any modification of rates effective on or after July 1, 2008, for individual health benefit plans may not be used until sixty days after they are filed with the commissioner. If the commissioner does not disapprove a rate filing within sixty days after the health maintenance organization has filed the documents required in RCW 48.46.062(2) and any rules adopted pursuant thereto, the filing shall be deemed approved.

     (5) No health maintenance organization authorized under this chapter shall cancel or fail to renew the enrollment on any basis of an enrolled participant or refuse to transfer an enrolled participant from a group to an individual basis for reasons relating solely to age, sex, race, or health status. Nothing contained herein shall prevent cancellation of an agreement with enrolled participants (a) who violate any published policies of the organization which have been approved by the commissioner, or (b) who are entitled to become eligible for medicare benefits and fail to enroll for a medicare supplement plan offered by the health maintenance organization and approved by the commissioner, or (c) for failure of such enrolled participant to pay the approved charge, including cost-sharing, required under such contract, or (d) for a material breach of the health maintenance agreement.

     (6) No agreement form or amendment to an approved agreement form shall be used unless it is first filed with the commissioner.

[2008 c 303 § 3; 2000 c 79 § 31; 1989 c 10 § 10. Prior: 1985 c 320 § 2; 1985 c 283 § 2; 1983 c 106 § 4; 1975 1st ex.s. c 290 § 7.]

Notes:

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