70.47.005  <<  70.47.010 >>   70.47.015

RCW 70.47.010

Legislative findings—Purpose—Director to coordinate eligibility.

(1)(a) The legislature finds that limitations on access to health care services for enrollees in the state, such as in rural and underserved areas, are particularly challenging for the basic health plan. Statutory restrictions have reduced the options available to the director to address the access needs of basic health plan enrollees. It is the intent of the legislature to authorize the director to develop alternative purchasing strategies to ensure access to basic health plan enrollees in all areas of the state, including: (i) The use of differential rating for managed health care systems based on geographic differences in costs; and (ii) limited use of self-insurance in areas where adequate access cannot be assured through other options.
(b) In developing alternative purchasing strategies to address health care access needs, the director shall consult with interested persons including health carriers, health care providers, and health facilities, and with other appropriate state agencies including the office of the insurance commissioner and the office of community and rural health. In pursuing such alternatives, the director shall continue to give priority to prepaid managed care as the preferred method of assuring access to basic health plan enrollees followed, in priority order, by preferred providers, fee-for-service, and self-funding.
(2) The legislature further finds that:
(a) A significant percentage of the population of this state does not have reasonably available insurance or other coverage of the costs of necessary basic health care services;
(b) This lack of basic health care coverage is detrimental to the health of the individuals lacking coverage and to the public welfare, and results in substantial expenditures for emergency and remedial health care, often at the expense of health care providers, health care facilities, and all purchasers of health care, including the state; and
(c) The use of managed health care systems has significant potential to reduce the growth of health care costs incurred by the people of this state generally, and by low-income pregnant women, and at-risk children and adolescents who need greater access to managed health care.
(3) The purpose of this chapter is to provide or make more readily available necessary basic health care services in an appropriate setting to working persons and others who lack coverage, at a cost to these persons that does not create barriers to the utilization of necessary health care services. To that end, this chapter establishes a program to be made available to those residents not eligible for medicare who share in a portion of the cost or who pay the full cost of receiving basic health care services from a managed health care system.
(4) It is not the intent of this chapter to provide health care services for those persons who are presently covered through private employer-based health plans, nor to replace employer-based health plans. However, the legislature recognizes that cost-effective and affordable health plans may not always be available to small business employers. Further, it is the intent of the legislature to expand, wherever possible, the availability of private health care coverage and to discourage the decline of employer-based coverage.
(5)(a) It is the purpose of this chapter to acknowledge the initial success of this program that has (i) assisted thousands of families in their search for affordable health care; (ii) demonstrated that low-income, uninsured families are willing to pay for their own health care coverage to the extent of their ability to pay; and (iii) proved that local health care providers are willing to enter into a public-private partnership as a managed care system.
(b) As a consequence, the legislature intends to extend an option to enroll to certain citizens above two hundred percent of the federal poverty guidelines within the state who reside in communities where the plan is operational and who collectively or individually wish to exercise the opportunity to purchase health care coverage through the basic health plan if the purchase is done at no cost to the state. It is also the intent of the legislature to allow employers and other financial sponsors to financially assist such individuals to purchase health care through the program so long as such purchase does not result in a lower standard of coverage for employees.
(c) The legislature intends that, to the extent of available funds, the program be available throughout Washington state to subsidized and nonsubsidized enrollees. It is also the intent of the legislature to enroll subsidized enrollees first, to the maximum extent feasible.
(d) The legislature directs that the basic health plan director identify enrollees who are likely to be eligible for medical assistance and assist these individuals in applying for and receiving medical assistance. Enrollees receiving medical assistance are not eligible for the Washington basic health plan.
NOTES:
Effective dateFindingsIntentReportAgency transferReferences to head of health care authorityDraft legislation2011 1st sp.s. c 15: See notes following RCW 74.09.010.
Effective dateSeverability2000 c 79: See notes following RCW 48.04.010.
FindingsIntent1993 c 492: See notes following RCW 43.20.050.
Short titleSavingsReservation of legislative powerEffective dates1993 c 492: See RCW 43.72.910 through 43.72.915.
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