Many Washingtonians and their doctors have been forced to argue with insurance companies about what procedures are covered by their plans. Senate Bill 6404, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), would address that problem, removing barriers to important medical care.
“Virtually everyone I know, and every doctor I have ever spoken with, has had the experience of having necessary medical procedures denied or delayed by an insurance company due to prior authorization,” Frockt said. “Who hasn’t had the experience of arguing for hours on the phone with insurance companies, writing letters, and sending emails? This wastes time and money, and adds stress for those who need care and for doctors who know what their patients need.”
SB 6404 was heard Friday morning in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.
The bill requires insurance carriers to submit certain information related to prior authorization practices to the state insurance commissioner, and requires the commissioner to adopt rules on prior authorization standards.
The measure also establishes a work group to review prior authorization standards and to recommend improvements.
“Hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted each year through this process,” Frockt said. “This bill is about providing more transparency to these insurance practices for which we have virtually no data, and moving us toward a day when routine and necessary care is not needlessly delayed or made more stressful for those receiving care and those delivering it.”