WA: OIC Now Aims to Approve Network Rule Later This Week or Early Next Week


The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is now aiming to adopt the new rule on network adequacy later this week at the earliest, according to OIC staff.

The OIC has been expected to release the new rule tomorrow – barely a week before the May 1 filing deadline for carriers that intend to offer health plans in 2015.

But the agency has received so many comments on the proposed rule in the last couple of days that it became apparent that staff need more time to work through them before the new rule is adopted, said OIC spokeswoman Kara Klotz.

“We weren’t expecting so many comments to come in right at the end,” Klotz told State of Reform this afternoon.

OIC staff is “is going through about 20 sets of comments right now,” she said. “Because of that, it will take a little longer than expected” to issue the new rule.

Asked if there are likely to be changes in the proposed rule, Klotz said: “I know they are making some changes.  I don’t know the nature of those changes.”

She said the OIC is now “aiming for late this week or early next week” to come out with the final rule.

A delay of a few days is not likely to satisfy the hospitals and health plans.  Their representatives reiterated during public testimony this morning at the OIC offices in Tumwater that the proposed rule needs substantial revisions before it is finalized.

Update, 3:40 p.m.:

Deputy Commissioner for Public Affairs Steve Valandra wrote in an email this afternoon to State of Reform:

The rule the OIC is working on won’t be approved until this coming Friday or next Monday. Just thought I would let you know. We had more comments come in yesterday and this morning from medical providers, insurers, consumer reps and others that the rules team needs to evaluate and consider.

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the rule is approved.