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Compliance Corner

State Updates

Extension of Emergency Orders on COVID-19 Testing and Surprise Billing

September 29, 2020

On September 25, 2020, Gov. Kreidler issued orders further extending emergency orders 20-01 and 20-06. Emergency Order 20-01, which has been extended through October 25, 2020, requires health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. The order also requires insurers to allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs.

Emergency Order 20-06, which has also been extended through October 25, 2020, protects consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The order also encourages insurers to report out-of-network labs that are not publishing or honoring the cash price of COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

These orders apply to insurers, but provide employers with information about the continued coverage of COVID-19 testing.

Further Extending Emergency Order 20-01 »
Further Extending Emergency Order 20-06 »

Extension of Emergency Orders on COVID-19 Testing and Surprise Billing

September 01, 2020

On August 28, 2020, Gov. Kreidler issued orders further extending emergency orders 20-01 and 20-06. Emergency Order 20-01, which has been extended through September 27, 2020, requires health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. The order also requires insurers to allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs.

Emergency Order 20-06, which has also been extended through September 27, 2020, protects consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The order also encourages insurers to report out-of-network labs that are not publishing or honoring the cash price of COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

These orders apply to insurers, but provide employers with information about the continued coverage of COVID-19 testing.

Further Extending Emergency Order 20-01 »
Further Extending Emergency Order 20-06 »

COVID-19 Testing Rules Extended

August 18, 2020

On August 14, 2020, Commissioner Kreidler extended Emergency Order No. 20-02 until September 15, 2020, requiring that COVID-19 testing be provided without cost sharing or preauthorization and that insurers provide increased flexibility regarding the use of telemedicine.

Employers can notify their plan participants that may still need to receive testing that the testing will continue to be provided without cost sharing and that telemedicine will still be available.

Further Partially Extending Emergency Order 20-02 »

Extension of Emergency Orders on COVID-19 Testing

August 04, 2020

On July 29, 2020, Gov. Kreidler issued orders further extending emergency orders 20-01 and 20-06. Emergency Order 20-01, which has been extended through August 28, 2020, required health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. The order also required insurers to allow a one-time early refill for prescription drugs.

Emergency Order 20-06, which has been extended through August 27, 2020, protected consumers from receiving surprise bills for lab fees related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The order also encourages insurers to report out-of-network labs that are not publishing or honoring the cash price of COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

These orders apply to insurers, but provide employers with information about the continued coverage of COVID-19 testing.

Further Extending Emergency Order 20-01 »
Further Extending Emergency Order 20-06 »

COVID-19 Testing Rules Extended

July 21, 2020

On July 16, 2020, Commissioner Kreidler extended Emergency Order No. 20-02 until August 16, 2020, requiring that COVID-19 testing be provided without cost sharing or preauthorization and that insurers provide increased flexibility regarding the use of telemedicine.

Employers can notify their plan participants who may still need to receive testing that the testing will continue to be provided without cost sharing and that telemedicine will still be available.

Further Partially Extending Emergency Order 20-02 »

COVID-19 Testing Rules Extended

July 07, 2020

On July 2, 2020, Commissioner Kreidler extended Emergency Order No. 20-01 until August 2, 2020, requiring that COVID-19 testing be provided without cost sharing or preauthorization.

Employers can notify plan participants that may still need to receive testing that the testing will continue to be provided without cost sharing.

Further Extending Emergency Order 20-01 »

Seattle Amends Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance for COVID-19

April 14, 2020

In March 2020, Seattle amended their Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance to expand the types of absences for which employees may use the PSST leave. Specifically, the amendment requires employers to now provide employees who work in Seattle with paid leave when their family member’s school or place of care has been closed for a public health related reason. The amendment allows for leave to care for any family member whose place of care or school is closed and not just their child. Additionally, for employers with businesses with 250+ full-time equivalent employees, they must allow PSST leave when their place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason.

Employers should familiarize themselves with this guidance so that they provide the required PSST leave.

Paid Sick and Safe Time »

Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus

April 14, 2020

On March 6, 2020, the Department of Labor and Industries provided a list of common questions pertaining to the state’s paid sick leave laws and COVID-19. The guidance mainly indicates that employees can use paid sick leave to cover their absence if:

  • The business is closed by a public official in connection with COVID-19
  • A school or place of care of a worker’s child is temporarily closed by a public official because of COVID-19
  • The worker is required to leave work because they may have been exposed to COVID-19
  • The worker is feeling ill or experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19 related
  • A doctor recommends that the individual not return to work due to possible COVID-19 exposure or symptoms
  • The worker is seeking medical diagnosis, care, treatment or preventive medical care for illness or symptoms that may be related to COVID-19

The guidance also indicates that an employer cannot require an employee to work from home instead of using their accrued paid sick leave. Further, an employer is not required to allow employees to use paid sick leave if the business decides on its own to temporarily close in response to COVID-19 (although they can allow the use of paid sick time in the situation).

Washington employers should review this guidance to ensure that they provide the appropriate access to paid sick time to their employees.

Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions »

Special Enrollment Period for Exchange

March 31, 2020

The state of Washington is offering a special enrollment period for the Washington Healthplanfinder exchange. Currently uninsured Washington residents can enroll in coverage on the Healthplanfinder through April 8, 2020. Employers with employees in Washington should be aware of this option should employees need to enroll in a plan on the exchange due to the termination of their employment or eligibility under the employer’s plan.

Special Enrollment Period »

Expanded Telehealth, Testing Coverage and Premium Grace Periods

March 31, 2020

On March 24, 2020, Commissioner Kreidler issued Emergency Order No. 20-02, requiring insurers to provide telehealth services and at least a 60-day grace period for payment of premiums. The order is also meant to clarify and expand Emergency Order No. 20-01, by requiring that drive-up testing for COVID-19 also be provided without cost sharing. Employers should familiarize themselves with this guidance as they assist employees that may be affected by COVID-19.

Emergency Order No. 20-02 »


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