WSR 20-09-113
[Filed April 17, 2020, 9:18 a.m., effective April 17, 2020, 9:18 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: The health care authority (HCA) is amending WAC 182-538-060 and 182-538-067 on an emergency basis in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The purpose of these amendments is to help ensure (1) the viability of apple health integrated managed care (IMC) plans; (2) adequate performance by the IMC plans; (3) sufficient access to care for medicaid clients in IMC; and (4) the continued availability of an adequate network of physical and behavioral health providers in IMC plans.
Because of COVID-19, the state is experiencing an unprecedented increase in unemployment and a commensurate increase in applications for enrollment in medicaid. As part of managing this situation, HCA is amending WAC 182-538-060 to limit the auto-assignments of medicaid clients to IMC plans. In particular, HCA will prevent auto-assignments of new clients to any plan that has a statewide market share of greater than forty percent in apple health IMC. This rule does not affect voluntary plan choices by clients, the family connect policy, or the plan reconnect policy.
In addition, HCA is amending WAC 182-538-067 to clarify when the agency will adjust the number of its IMC plans, either overall or on a region-to-region basis. In determining whether to make any such adjustment, HCA will consider statutory requirements as well as enrollment needs, the performance of the plans with respect to behavioral health integration, and the promotion of access to care for behavioral health services.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 182-538-060 and 182-538-067.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 41.05.021, 41.05.160.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: Medicaid caseloads are growing by the day with skyrocketing statewide unemployment rates and closed businesses. HCA is regard [required] to take all measures necessary to ensure client access to contracted providers through HCA-contracted managed care organizations.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: April 17, 2020.
Wendy Barcus
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 19-24-063, filed 11/27/19, effective 1/1/20)
WAC 182-538-060Managed care choice and assignment.
(1) The medicaid agency requires a client to enroll in integrated managed care (IMC) when that client:
(a) Is eligible for one of the Washington apple health programs for which enrollment is mandatory;
(b) Resides in an area where enrollment is mandatory; and
(c) Is not exempt from IMC enrollment and the agency has not ended the client's managed care enrollment, consistent with WAC 182-538-130.
(2) American Indian and Alaska native (AI/AN) clients and their descendants may choose one of the following:
(a) Enrollment with a managed care organization (MCO) available in their regional service area;
(b) Enrollment with a PCCM provider through a tribal clinic or urban Indian center available in their area; or
(c) The agency's fee-for-service system for physical health or behavioral health or both.
(3) To enroll with an MCO or PCCM provider, a client may:
(a) Enroll online via the Washington Healthplanfinder at;
(b) Call the agency's toll-free enrollment line at 800-562-3022; or
(c) Go to the ProviderOne client portal at and follow the instructions.
(4) An enrollee in IMC must enroll with an MCO available in the regional service area where the enrollee resides.
(5) All family members will be enrolled with the same MCO, except family members of an enrollee placed in the patient review and coordination (PRC) program under WAC 182-501-0135 need not enroll in the same MCO as the family member placed in the PRC program.
(6) An enrollee may be placed into the PRC program by the MCO or the agency. An enrollee placed in the PRC program must follow the enrollment requirements of the program as stated in WAC 182-501-0135.
(7) When a client requests enrollment with an MCO or PCCM provider, the agency enrolls a client effective the earliest possible date given the requirements of the agency's enrollment system.
(8) The agency assigns a client who does not choose an MCO or PCCM provider as follows:
(a) If the client was enrolled with an MCO or PCCM provider within the previous six months, the client is reenrolled with the same MCO or PCCM provider;
(b) If (a) of this subsection does not apply and the client has a family member enrolled with an MCO, the client is enrolled with that MCO;
(c) The client is reenrolled within the previous six months with their prior MCO plan if:
(i) The agency identifies the prior MCO and the program is available; and
(ii) The client does not have a family member enrolled with an agency-contracted MCO or PCCM provider.
(d) If the client has a break in eligibility of less than two months, the client will be automatically reenrolled with his or her previous MCO or PCCM provider and no notice will be sent; or
(e) If the client cannot be assigned according to (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this subsection, the agency ((assigns the client according to agency policy)):
(i) Assigns the client according to agency policy, or this rule, or both;
(ii) Will not assign clients to any MCO that has a total statewide market share of forty percent or more of clients who are enrolled in apple health IMC. On a quarterly basis, the agency will review enrollment data to determine each MCO's statewide market share in apple health IMC;
(iii) Will apply performance measures associated with increasing or reducing assignment consistent with this rule and agency policy or its contracts with MCOs.
(f) If the client cannot be assigned according to (a) or (b) of this subsection, the agency assigns the client as follows:
(i) If a client who is not AI/AN does not choose an MCO, the agency assigns the client to an MCO available in the area where the client resides. The MCO is responsible for primary care provider (PCP) choice and assignment.
(ii) For clients who are newly eligible or who have had a break in eligibility of more than six months, the agency sends a written notice to each household of one or more clients who are assigned to an MCO. The assigned client has ten calendar days to contact the agency to change the MCO assignment before enrollment is effective. The notice includes:
(A) The agency's toll-free number;
(B) The toll-free number and name of the MCO to which each client has been assigned;
(C) The effective date of enrollment; and
(D) The date by which the client must respond in order to change the assignment.
(9) An MCO enrollee's selection of a PCP or assignment to a PCP occurs as follows:
(a) An MCO enrollee may choose:
(i) A PCP or clinic that is in the enrollee's MCO and accepting new enrollees; or
(ii) A different PCP or clinic participating with the enrollee's MCO for different family members.
(b) The MCO assigns a PCP or clinic that meets the access standards set forth in the relevant managed care contract if the enrollee does not choose a PCP or clinic.
(c) An MCO enrollee may change PCPs or clinics in an MCO for any reason, with the change becoming effective no later than the beginning of the month following the enrollee's request.
(d) An MCO enrollee may file a grievance with the MCO if the MCO does not approve an enrollee's request to change PCPs or clinics.
(e) MCO enrollees required to participate in the agency's PRC program may be limited in their right to change PCPs (see WAC 182-501-0135).
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 19-24-063, filed 11/27/19, effective 1/1/20)
WAC 182-538-067Qualifications to become a managed care organization (MCO) in integrated managed care.
(1) To provide physical or behavioral health services under the apple health IMC ((medicaid)) contract, a managed care organization (MCO) must:
(a) ((An MCO must))Contract with the agency((.)); and
(b) ((MCO must also))Contract with an agency-contracted behavioral health administrative service organization (BH-ASO) that maintains an adequate provider network to deliver services to clients in IMC regional service areas.
(2) ((A managed care organization ())An MCO(())) must meet the following qualifications to be eligible to contract with the ((medicaid)) agency:
(a) Have a certificate of registration from the Washington state office of the insurance commissioner (OIC) that allows the MCO to provide health care services under a risk-based contract;
(b) Accept the terms and conditions of the agency's managed care contract;
(c) ((Be able to))Meet the network and quality standards established by the agency; and
(d) Pass a readiness review, including an on-site visit conducted by the agency.
(3) ((At its discretion, the agency awards a contract to an MCO through a competitive process or an application process available to all qualified providers.))(a) The agency may from time to time conduct a procurement for new apple health MCOs or to reduce or expand the use of existing apple health MCOs.
(b) The agency may conduct a procurement when the agency determines in its sole discretion there is a need to:
(i) Expand or reduce current MCO contracts;
(ii) Enhance current MCO provider networks; or
(iii) Establish new contracts for integrated managed care in one or more regional services areas; or
(iv) Adjust the program to ensure adherence to state and federal law.
(c) In accordance with RCW 74.09.522 and 74.09.871, the agency will give significant weight to the following factors in any procurement process:
(i) Demonstrated commitment to, and experience in, serving low-income populations;
(ii) Demonstrated commitment to, and experience in, serving persons who have mental illness, substance use disorders, or co-occurring disorders;
(iii) Demonstrated commitment to, and experience with, partnerships with county and municipal criminal justice systems, housing services, and other critical support services necessary to achieve the outcomes established in RCW 70.320.020, 71.24.435, and 71.36.025;
(iv) Recognition that meeting enrollees' physical and behavioral health care needs is a shared responsibility of contracted behavioral health administrative services organizations, MCOs, service providers, the state, and communities;
(v) Consideration of past and current performance and participation in other state or federal behavioral health programs as a contractor;
(vi) Quality of services provided to enrollees under previous contracts with the state of Washington or other states;
(vii) Accessibility, including appropriate utilization, of services offered to enrollees;
(viii) Demonstrated capability to perform contracted services, including the ability to supply an adequate provider network; and
(ix) The ability to meet any other requirements established by the agency.
(d) The agency may define and consider additional factors as part of any procurement including, but not limited to:
(i) Timely processing of, and payments to, providers in the MCO networks, including reconciliation of outstanding payments; and
(ii) The optimal number of MCOs per regional services area, based on population and in the manner that the agency determines most beneficial for the program, clients, and providers.
(4) The agency reserves the right not to contract with any otherwise qualified MCO.