Every health care service contract issued or renewed after December 31, 1974, shall conform to the following standards:
(1) A contract shall not unreasonably limit benefits to a specified period of time. For example, a provision that services for a particular condition will be covered only for one year without regard to the amount of the benefits paid or provided, is not acceptable. Contracts may, however, limit major medical benefits, supplemental accident benefits, and diagnostic X-ray and laboratory benefits to a reasonable period of time. Benefits may also be limited to a reasonable maximum dollar amount, and, in the case of doctor calls, to a reasonable number of calls over a stated period of time.
(2) A contract must provide that reasonable benefits will be restored upon each renewal of the contract or upon a calendar year basis or that such benefits be reasonably continuous. It is not required that a major medical contract with a lifetime maximum benefit be renewed or restored.
(3) A contract shall not contain any provision which gives or purports to give the contractor, its agent, officer, employee, or designee the authority to make a decision relative to the contract, or coverage or claims thereunder, which is final and binding on the subscriber or beneficiary. That is, in the case of controversy arising out of the contract, a subscriber shall not be denied the right to have the controversy determined by legal or arbitration proceedings.
(4) A contract shall not contain any provision which requires a subscriber to purchase a "monthly treatment order." This prohibits provisions that require a subscriber to pay a special charge, distinct from the pre-payment fees required of all subscribers and coinsurance deductible amounts, in order to obtain advance authorization for treatment or services.
(5) If a contract restricts treatment to services by the contractor's participants or agents, a reasonable provision shall be included to allow emergency treatment consistent with the scope of the benefits regularly provided by the contract.
(6) If a contract provides maternity benefits, there shall be no waiting period for maternity benefits in advance of a conception occurring while the contract is in force.
(7) No contract shall contain any provision that unreasonably restricts or delays the payment of benefits payable under the contract. Delays are not justified because the expenses incurred, or the services received, resulted from an act or omission of a third party.
(8) Every contract shall provide for a grace period of not less than ten days following the due date for the payment of the subscriber's dues, fees, or premium, during which grace period the contract shall continue in force. If payment is not made within the grace period, the contract may be terminated as of the due date of payment rather than at the end of the grace period.
(9) No contract other than a conversion contract issued pursuant to chapter 284-52
WAC shall contain any provision having the effect of coordinating benefits with other health care service contracts, health maintenance agreements, or disability insurance policies, except that group contracts may provide for coordination of benefits pursuant to chapter 284-51
WAC, and except that any contract may provide for coordination with respect to governmental programs.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
, 48.44.050 and 48.46.200. WSR 84-19-055 (Order R 84-4), § 284-44-040, filed 9/19/84; Order R-74-1, § 284-44-040, filed 6/4/74, effective 8/1/74.]