What's New

NoHLA Plays Crucial Role in State Attorney General Consumer Protection Action
Against Major Health Insurer


Elisabeth SmithThe Washington State Attorney General’s Office recently secured an agreement with Molina Healthcare of Washington requiring the insurer to clearly specify that both copper and progestin-based IUDs are fully covered in its Washington health plans.

This consumer protection action stemmed from a report by NoHLA, Contraceptive Coverage in Washington State's Qualified Health Plans, which raised concerns that insurers were misinforming women about the full extent of their new reproductive health benefits. NoHLA staff attorney Elisabeth Smith assisted in the investigation.


NoHLA Issues Report
on its 2015 Navigator Survey

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.

Click here for more information

Legislative Action in Washington State

We are pleased to share our summaries of the 2016 Washington Legislature's actions related to health care access:

NoHLA's summary of enacted bills

NoHLA's summary of provisions in the Supplemental Operating Budget that relate to health care access

It's not possible to convey the complexity of the budget in this document, so we have selected specific items based on the summaries for each agency. Any new spending related to the passage of legislation is not listed in the budget - the changes are described in the summary of enacted bills.

We hope you find these summaries helpful. Please feel free to share them with others, and contact us if you have any questions. Special thanks to NoHLA staff members Elisabeth Smith and Daniel Gross and volunteer Jacob Schroeder for their help in preparing these materials.



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

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.

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.

For more information click here

Recent Media

Seattle Times Editorial: Patients must expect more from insurance providers on birth control

Sen. Patty Murray urges stronger enforcement of birth-control coverage

Kaiser Health News: ‘Free’ Contraception Means ‘Free,’ Obama Administration Tells Insurers


Inject Transparency Into Healthcare

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.

Improving Transparency in Insurance Decisions

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.

Coverage is Here!
Insurance Options in Washington

Washington Healthplan finder

Read our overview of Health Reform in Washington State and our more detailed guide to Coverage Options in Washington State. Then visit www.wahealthplanfinder.org to explore your options and sign up.

In the Media


This Professor’s Secret Could Save Your Life.




Check out her story and video



Photograph by Anastasia Rodionova





Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA) works toward achieving a health care system in which all individuals receive quality, affordable health care, provided on an equitable and timely basis, 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:

  • Legal consultation to attorneys and advocates on public health insurance programs
  • Legal and policy analysis
  • Training and community education
  • Legislative and administrative advocacy


"Thank you again for all your help preparing for my presentation on Friday. It went really well and I got lots of positive feedback from various stakeholder groups and community members. I hope to cross paths with you more often on this work thank you again for being such an amazing resource!"

-Ariel Speser
Attorney at Law
Northwest Justice Project

Cathy Aby"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