Groundbreaking Healthcare Legislation Signed into Law by Governor Inslee (HB 1870)

On April 17, 2019 in Olympia Governor Inslee signed into law HB 1870, which is a huge step forward in healthcare legislation for our state. The law assures access to healthcare for all Washingtonians regardless of what happens at the federal level and provides protections for pre-existing conditions, out of pocket expenses, discrimination, and much more.

The Affordable Care Act put in place several regulations to protect patients and their access to healthcare coverage. These protections have helped patients gain and maintain quality health coverage without fear of being denied or dropped from coverage or being charged higher rates because of their health status. Patient protections allow individuals and families to have the security of health insurance so they can access preventive care as well as coverage in times of medical crisis.

House Bill 1870 puts the key patient protections from the Affordable Care Act into Washington state law, providing a guarantee that Washingtonians will have these protections regardless of what happens at the federal level or in the courts. The patient protections that House Bill 1870 codifies into state law are:

  • No one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or charged more for that coverage
  • No one can be dropped from coverage once enrolled under a plan (except in cases of fraud)
  • The 10 essential health benefits must be covered by plans
  • There is a cap on out of pocket expenses
  • Carriers are not able to impose annual or lifetime caps
  • Carriers must provide a summary of benefits and coverage explanation
  • Prohibits waiting periods of more than 90-days before a patient is able to enroll in coverage
  • A carrier may not discriminate against individuals based on age, expected length of life, disability, or other health condition

When asked about the significance of HB 1870, David Richart, Executive Director, Komen Puget Sound said, “We are thrilled that HB 1870 secures access to affordable healthcare for all Washingtonians. This legislation will have a far-reaching impact for those who need coverage most. The impact of HB 1870 on the men and women facing breast cancer and other medical crises is incalculable. Komen Puget Sound is proud to see this groundbreaking legislation become law in our state.”