WA Insurance Commissioner extends COVID-19 orders on co-pays, surprise billing to June 27

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has once again extended his two emergency orders involving insurance protocols surrounding COVID-19.

Kreidler extended two orders on Wednesday; one requiring health insurers to waive co-pays and deductibles for COVID testing, and the other preventing surprise bills for COVID-related lab fees. Both orders are extended until June 27.

Kreidler has extended the orders countless times since May 2020 for items like waiving co-pays, coronavirus testing and surprise bills.

"Consumers are rightly concerned about prevention, testing and possible treatment," Kreidler said at a previous press conference. "My emergency order provides guidance to health insurers and should help reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to protect them." 

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According to the commissioner's office, the order waiving co-pays applies to all state-regulated health insurance plans and short-term plans. The order on surprise billing applies to any laboratory that provides diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

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Kreidler says insurers must continue to allow one-time early refills for prescriptions, and suspend any authorization requirements for COVID testing or treatment. If an insurer does not have enough medical providers in its network to provide testing or treatment, they must let customers be treated by another provider "within reasonable distance" for free.