Here is NoHLA’s first update of the 2016 session on pending bills in the Washington State Legislature that relate to health care access. Thanks to Daniel Gross, Elisabeth Smith and Jacob Schroeder for their help in preparing these materials.
This update is current as of February 9, 2016. February 5th was the deadline for bills to be reported out of their policy committee in the house of origin.
We hope you find these updates helpful. You are welcome to circulate them. If you know of other bills that should be included in this summary, or have any questions or comments, please let us know.
NoHLA Speaks Out against Surprise
"Out of Network” Medical Bills
NoHLA is teaming up with the Consumers Union to support House Bill 2447, a measure requested by state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to protect individuals who are billed by out-of-network providers. For more information, click here.
Introducing NoHLA's new logo
Northwest Health Law Advocates is proud to announce the launch of our new logo! It’s designed to reflect NoHLA’s forward-moving, dynamic engagement in efforts to improve access to health care.
We would especially like to thank Ava Burke, NoHLA’s 2015 Ms. Foundation For Women-Parsons Fellow, for her creative energy and talent in the design of NoHLA's new logo.
Read NoHLA’s Comments on Health Care Authority's new Medicaid initiative: the "Global Waiver"
Washington's Health Care Authority (HCA) has proposed big changes in the Medicaid program that aim to improve how health care is delivered. HCA submitted its "Global Waiver" proposal to the federal government last month, requesting $3 billion to fund a Medicaid transformation that includes:
- a transition to value-based purchasing of health care services
- providing targeted community supports such as supportive housing
- changes to the long-term support services offered to Medicaid and pre-Medicaid clients over age 65 and those with disabilities
NoHLA supports the goals of the proposals: to reduce avoidable use of high-cost services, improve population health, and pay for good care outcomes. We co-authored comments with Northwest Justice Project expressing the need for more detail on the long-term care proposal and raising concerns about the readiness and expanded role of regionally-based Accountable Communities of Health, the sustainability of the program beyond the 5-year demonstration period, and the need for transparency. We will continue to provide input and monitor the process as the state and federal government negotiate the terms and conditions of the demonstration project. Read our comments on the draft application submitted by NoHLA and Northwest Justice Project.
IN WASHINGTON STATE'S QUALIFIED HEALTH PLANS:
A "Secret Shopper" Survey and Review of Carrier Filings and Formularies
A new report authored by Northwest Health Law Advocates, with assistance from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, examines whether insurance companies selling health plans through the online marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, are complying with the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement.
The report finds that insurance companies have misinformed women about expanded access to free birth control. The report is based on the findings of a "secret shopper" survey, a review of carriers' formularies and insurance form filings, and follow up communications with each insurance carrier.
Seattle Times calls on state Legislature to "open the curtains and shine light" on "the murky world of health-care insurance appeals." Read more here.
NoHLA's new "Report and Recommendations on Washington States Independent Review System" recommends improvements in the system for collecting, analyzing, and making publicly available the decisions issued by Independent Review Organizations when consumers appeal a denial of health insurance coverage. Read more here.
Just Became Pregnant?
Enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) and just became pregnant? Read this FAQ to see how pregnancy may affect your health care coverage.
Read NoHLA's recent report of our second annual online survey of health care navigators who help Washington residents apply for health coverage. In total, the 64 navigators, representing all of Washington's 39 counties, assisted approximately 81,000 individuals between October 2014 and September 2015. The survey showed that while health reform improvements have sharply reduced the number of uninsured in our state, obstacles to coverage remain that must be addressed.
In the Media
This Professor’s Secret Could Save Your Life.
Photograph by Anastasia Rodionova
Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to achieve a seamless health care system, in which all individuals receive affordable, quality care, and are assured of basic rights and protections.
Our work focuses on issues of concern to low-income individuals and families, particularly in Washington State. Please see NoHLA Advocacy for information about NoHLA's recent work.
NoHLA's work involves:
"Within weeks of NoHLA's Medicaid training, I was able to use the information you taught us to identify numerous cases in which families were wrongly denied coverage—and to bring those cases forward to get them resolved.
By giving all of us tools and knowledge to successfully advocate for people, NoHLA has impacted so many lives – making healthcare accessible and helping families avoid financial disaster."
~ Cathy Aby, Health Educator,Public Health – Seattle & King County
"I want to tell you how much I enjoy your presentations at First Friday Forum. I get happy when I see NOHLA on the agenda, and kinda sad without it!"
~ Esther Mathison