(1) No contract may contain a discretionary clause. "Discretionary clause" means a provision that purports to reserve discretion to a health maintenance organization, its agents, officers, employees, or designees in interpreting the terms of a contract or deciding eligibility for benefits, or requires deference to such interpretations or decisions, including a provision that provides for any of the following results:
(a) That the carrier's interpretation of the terms of the contract is binding;
(b) That the carrier's decision regarding eligibility or continued receipt of benefits is binding;
(c) That the carrier's decision to deny, modify, reduce or terminate payment, coverage, authorization, or provision of health care service or benefits, is binding;
(d) That there is no appeal or judicial remedy from a denial of a claim;
(e) That deference must be given to the carrier's interpretation of the contract or claim decision; and
(f) That the standard of review of a carrier's interpretation of the contract or claim decision is other than a de novo review.
(2) Nothing in this section prohibits a carrier from including a provision in a contract that informs an insured that as part of its routine operations the carrier applies the terms of its contracts for making decisions, including making determination regarding eligibility, receipt of benefits and claims, or explaining its policies, procedures, and processes.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.20.450, 48.20.460, 48.30.010, 48.44.050, 48.46.200, 48.02.060, 48.18.110, 48.44.020, and 48.46.060. 09-16-128 (Matter No. R 2008-25), § 284-46-015, filed 8/5/09, effective 9/5/09.]