BILL REQ. #:  H-1002.2 


State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By Representatives Condotta, Bailey, Ericksen, Hinkle, McCune, Chandler, Hope, Haler, Kristiansen, Ross, Newhouse, and Kelley

Read first time 01/30/09.   Referred to Committee on Health Care & Wellness.

     AN ACT Relating to employee health care options; and reenacting and amending RCW 41.05.065.


Sec. 1   RCW 41.05.065 and 2007 c 156 s 10 and 2007 c 114 s 5 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
     (1) The board shall study all matters connected with the provision of health care coverage, life insurance, liability insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and disability income insurance or any of, or a combination of, the enumerated types of insurance for employees and their dependents on the best basis possible with relation both to the welfare of the employees and to the state. However, liability insurance shall not be made available to dependents.
     (2) The board shall develop employee benefit plans that include comprehensive health care benefits for all employees. In developing these plans, the board shall consider the following elements:
     (a) Methods of maximizing cost containment while ensuring access to quality health care;
     (b) Development of provider arrangements that encourage cost containment and ensure access to quality care, including but not limited to prepaid delivery systems and prospective payment methods;
     (c) Wellness incentives that focus on proven strategies, such as smoking cessation, injury and accident prevention, reduction of alcohol misuse, appropriate weight reduction, exercise, automobile and motorcycle safety, blood cholesterol reduction, and nutrition education;
     (d) Utilization review procedures including, but not limited to a cost-efficient method for prior authorization of services, hospital inpatient length of stay review, requirements for use of outpatient surgeries and second opinions for surgeries, review of invoices or claims submitted by service providers, and performance audit of providers;
     (e) Effective coordination of benefits;
     (f) Minimum standards for insuring entities; and
     (g) Minimum scope and content of public employee benefit plans to be offered to enrollees participating in the employee health benefit plans. To maintain the comprehensive nature of employee health care benefits, employee eligibility criteria related to the number of hours worked and the benefits provided to employees shall be substantially equivalent to the state employees' health benefits plan and eligibility criteria in effect on January 1, 1993. Nothing in this subsection (2)(g) shall prohibit changes or increases in employee point-of-service payments or employee premium payments for benefits or the administration of a high deductible health plan in conjunction with a health savings account.
     (3) The board shall design benefits and determine the terms and conditions of employee and retired employee participation and coverage, including establishment of eligibility criteria subject to the requirements of RCW 41.05.066. The same terms and conditions of participation and coverage, including eligibility criteria, shall apply to state employees and to school district employees and educational service district employees.
     (4) The board may authorize premium contributions for an employee and the employee's dependents in a manner that encourages the use of cost-efficient managed health care systems. During the 2005-2007 fiscal biennium, the board may only authorize premium contributions for an employee and the employee's dependents that are the same, regardless of an employee's status as represented or nonrepresented by a collective bargaining unit under the personnel system reform act of 2002. The board shall require participating school district and educational service district employees to pay at least the same employee premiums by plan and family size as state employees pay.
     (5) The board shall develop a health savings account option for employees that conform to section 223, Part VII of subchapter B of chapter 1 of the internal revenue code of 1986. The board shall comply with all applicable federal standards related to the establishment of health savings accounts.
     (6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the board shall develop a high deductible health plan to be offered in conjunction with a health savings account developed under subsection (5) of this section.
     (7) Beginning January 1, 2010, employees are authorized to receive the monthly value of their health care benefit in a pretax account for the purchase of a core benefit plan from a private vendor. For the purposes of this subsection "core benefit plan" means a federally qualified health savings account that conforms with section 223, Part VII of subchapter B of chapter 1 of the internal revenue code of 1986.
Employees shall choose participation in one of the health care benefit plans developed by the board and may be permitted to waive coverage under terms and conditions established by the board.
     (((8))) (9) The board shall review plans proposed by insuring entities that desire to offer property insurance and/or accident and casualty insurance to state employees through payroll deduction. The board may approve any such plan for payroll deduction by insuring entities holding a valid certificate of authority in the state of Washington and which the board determines to be in the best interests of employees and the state. The board shall adopt rules setting forth criteria by which it shall evaluate the plans.
     (((9))) (10) Before January 1, 1998, the public employees' benefits board shall make available one or more fully insured long-term care insurance plans that comply with the requirements of chapter 48.84 RCW. Such programs shall be made available to eligible employees, retired employees, and retired school employees as well as eligible dependents which, for the purpose of this section, includes the parents of the employee or retiree and the parents of the spouse of the employee or retiree. Employees of local governments, political subdivisions, and tribal governments not otherwise enrolled in the public employees' benefits board sponsored medical programs may enroll under terms and conditions established by the administrator, if it does not jeopardize the financial viability of the public employees' benefits board's long-term care offering.
     (a) Participation of eligible employees or retired employees and retired school employees in any long-term care insurance plan made available by the public employees' benefits board is voluntary and shall not be subject to binding arbitration under chapter 41.56 RCW. Participation is subject to reasonable underwriting guidelines and eligibility rules established by the public employees' benefits board and the health care authority.
     (b) The employee, retired employee, and retired school employee are solely responsible for the payment of the premium rates developed by the health care authority. The health care authority is authorized to charge a reasonable administrative fee in addition to the premium charged by the long-term care insurer, which shall include the health care authority's cost of administration, marketing, and consumer education materials prepared by the health care authority and the office of the insurance commissioner.
     (c) To the extent administratively possible, the state shall establish an automatic payroll or pension deduction system for the payment of the long-term care insurance premiums.
     (d) The public employees' benefits board and the health care authority shall establish a technical advisory committee to provide advice in the development of the benefit design and establishment of underwriting guidelines and eligibility rules. The committee shall also advise the board and authority on effective and cost-effective ways to market and distribute the long-term care product. The technical advisory committee shall be comprised, at a minimum, of representatives of the office of the insurance commissioner, providers of long-term care services, licensed insurance agents with expertise in long-term care insurance, employees, retired employees, retired school employees, and other interested parties determined to be appropriate by the board.
     (e) The health care authority shall offer employees, retired employees, and retired school employees the option of purchasing long- term care insurance through licensed agents or brokers appointed by the long-term care insurer. The authority, in consultation with the public employees' benefits board, shall establish marketing procedures and may consider all premium components as a part of the contract negotiations with the long-term care insurer.
     (f) In developing the long-term care insurance benefit designs, the public employees' benefits board shall include an alternative plan of care benefit, including adult day services, as approved by the office of the insurance commissioner.
     (g) The health care authority, with the cooperation of the office of the insurance commissioner, shall develop a consumer education program for the eligible employees, retired employees, and retired school employees designed to provide education on the potential need for long-term care, methods of financing long-term care, and the availability of long-term care insurance products including the products offered by the board.

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