WSR 01-15-085

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

OFFICE OF THE

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER

[ Insurance Commissioner Matter No. R 2001-06 -- Filed July 18, 2001, 9:25 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: In response to concerns and inquiries by interested parties, and in an attempt to open this issue to full public discussion, the agency will consider whether to adopt new rules and to amend or repeal existing rules governing unfair sex discrimination and health care services for pregnancy, maternity and pregnancy related conditions.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 48.02.060, 48.18.480, 48.20.450, 48.20.460, 48.21.045, 48.30.010, 48.30.300, 48.41.110, 48.41.170, 48.42.010, 48.42.040, 48.42.100, 48.43.012, 48.43.025, 48.43.035, 48.43.041, 48.43.115, 48.44.020, 48.44.023, 48.44.050, 48.44.220, 48.46.060, 48.46.066, 48.46.110, 48.46.200, 49.60.010, 49.60.030, 49.60.120, 49.60.178, 49.60.220.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: (1) Carriers may need guidance on how to comply with state and federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in insurance transactions and health plan benefits. There are a number of state and federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health insurance benefits, including health care services for pregnancy, maternity and pregnancy related conditions. The laws include 42 U.S.C. 2000 and chapter 49.60 RCW, in addition to provisions of the state insurance code. Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) rules governing sex discrimination may need to be amended and new rules may need to be adopted to provide clear guidance to carriers and consumers as to what are prohibited discriminatory practices. (2) Carriers are required by various laws to provide health care services for pregnancy, maternity and pregnancy related conditions. Existing OIC rules may need to be amended to provide clear guidance to carriers and consumers as the minimum standards for these benefits.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission administer unfair discrimination laws applicable to employers and employee health benefits. In addition, the insurance commissioner and the Washington State Human Rights Commission have concurrent jurisdiction over the issue of unfair practices in insurance, including practices that aid and abet violations of the state Civil Rights Act. The commissioner's staff will confer with representatives of these agencies.

Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study; and please send any comments regarding this rule to Kacy Brandeberry, P.O. Box 40255, Olympia, WA 98504-0255, e-mail Kacyb@oic.wa.gov, fax (360) 664-2782.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Kacy Brandeberry, P.O. Box 40255, Olympia, WA 98504-0255, e-mail Kacyb@oic.wa.gov, fax (360) 664-2782.

July 18, 2001

William J. Hagens

for Mike Kriedler

Insurance Commissioner

Washington State Code Reviser's Office