Alternative care—General rules as to minimum standards.
(1) As an alternative to hospitalization or institutionalization of an insured and with the intent to cover placement of the insured patient in the most appropriate and cost-effective setting, every individual or group contract of a health care service contractor issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 1995, which provides coverage for hospitalization or other institutional expenses to a resident of this state shall include substitution of home health care, provided in lieu of hospitalization or other institutional care, furnished by home health, hospice and home care agencies licensed under chapter 70.127
RCW, at equal or lesser cost.
(2) In addition, such expenses may include coverage for durable medical equipment which permits the insured to stay at home, care provided in Alzheimer's centers, adult family homes, assisted living facilities, congregate care facilities, adult day health care, home health, hospice and home care, or similar alternative care arrangements which provide necessary care in less restrictive or less expensive environments.
(3) Substitution of less expensive or less intensive services shall be made only with the consent of the insured and upon the recommendation of the insured's attending physician or licensed health care provider that such services will adequately meet the insured patient's needs. The decision to substitute less expensive or less intensive services shall be determined based on the medical needs of the individual insured patient.
(4) A health care service contractor may require that home health agencies or similar alternative care providers have written treatment plans which are approved by the insured patient's attending physician or other licensed health care provider.
(5) Coverage may be limited to no less than the maximum benefits which would be payable for hospital or other institutional expenses under the contract, and may include all deductibles and coinsurances which would be payable by the insured under the hospital or other institutional expense coverage of the insured's contract.
(6) This section shall not apply to long-term care or medicare supplement insurance contracts. This section shall not apply to guaranteed renewable contracts issued prior to January 1, 1995.