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FindingsIntent2019 c 427. (Effective January 1, 2020.)

(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Consumers receive surprise bills or balance bills for services provided at out-of-network facilities or by out-of-network health care providers at in-network facilities;
(b) Consumers must not be placed in the middle of contractual disputes between providers and health insurance carriers; and
(c) Facilities, providers, and health insurance carriers all share responsibility to ensure consumers have transparent information on network providers and benefit coverage, and the insurance commissioner is responsible for ensuring that provider networks include sufficient numbers and types of contracted providers to reasonably ensure consumers have in-network access for covered benefits.
(2) It is the intent of the legislature to:
(a) Ban balance billing of consumers enrolled in fully insured, regulated insurance plans and plans offered to public employees under chapter 41.05 RCW for the services described in RCW 48.49.020, and to provide self-funded group health plans with an option to elect to be subject to the provisions of chapter 427, Laws of 2019;
(b) Remove consumers from balance billing disputes and require that out-of-network providers and carriers negotiate out-of-network payments in good faith under the terms of chapter 427, Laws of 2019; and
(c) Provide an environment that encourages self-funded groups to negotiate out-of-network payments in good faith with providers and facilities in return for balance billing protections.
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