Friday, May 29, 2015

Do you know what preventive services are free?

Health care reform - otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act - gives you the right to access certain preventive medical services with no cost-sharing, including co-pays or coinsurance even if you haven't met your deductible.

The list of free services includes immunizations, cancer screenings, depression screening and much, much more. See the full list at There's also specific services covered for women and even for children.

If you've been charged for a preventive service that you believe should've been free, give our health insurance experts a call at 1-800-562-6900 or email us at

We've heard from some consumers who have had their free colonoscopy, but were later charged for the removal and testing of a polyp. Recent guidelines from the federal government should protect you from these charges, but if you have concerns, please contact us. We'll help you understand your rights to these services and others.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Are you ready for a megaquake?

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) ran a series of stories earlier this month about how prepared Northwesterners are for a massive earthquake (or not, in many cases). Some experts say a magnitude 9.0 quake off our coast could hit at anytime. OPB profiled a series of families who tried living off their earthquake supplies for a weekend to as a trial run. The Red Cross recommends storing 14 gallons of water and 42 meals per person in the event of a megaquake. That’s a lot of supplies. 
Photo courtesy of FEMA. A sports car lies crushed by earthquake debris in a Seattle parking lot in Seattle on March 4, 2001.

In addition to being prepared for the disaster itself, homeowners should be prepared for the aftermath. Step one is talking to your insurance agent about what your policies will cover. Earthquakes are not automatically covered by a standard homeowner’s policy, most insurers require an endorsement or a separate policy. And you likely won’t be able to buy it after the fact, most insurers don’t sell it for a period of time after an earthquake hits. Additionally, it typically doesn’t cover tidal waves or tsunamis that are a direct result of an earthquake, but be sure to read your policy and talk to your insurance agent.

While you are preparing for an earthquake—or wildfire or any other natural disaster—make sure you include insurance in your planning.
Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Help the OIC improve health insurance webpages

We need your help refining the information we provide on the individuals and families section of our health insurance webpages. 

You can help by taking a short survey by May 28. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous.

We will use your feedback to improve the way the information on the pages is organized, so it is more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

OIC hiring two entry-level insurance positions in Tumwater

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner is hiring two entry-level positions atour Tumwater headquarters to help consumers with insurance.
  • Insurance Technician 1: This is in our Consumer Protection Division and answers calls on our consumer hotline. This position triages calls to consumer advocacy, producer licensing and Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), explains basic insurance rules and helps consumers and industry users troubleshoot problems with our online applications. 
  • Health Insurance Advisor 1: This is in our Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program and is a temporary job through December 2015. This position counsels consumers in person and on the phone about health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, including screening them for eligibility and enrolling them in subsidized programs. The person in this position delivers presentations to community groups, trains volunteers and attends monthly meetings around the state. 
Find more information about these jobs and other openings at

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

OIC wants your help to make our website more user-friendly!

Now that open enrollment is over, we want to fine-tune the individuals and families section of our health insurance webpages. 

You can help by taking a short survey. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous. We will use your feedback to better organize the information that we provide to consumers. The survey is open until May 19.

Thanks for your help making our website easier to use!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fraud prosecutor wins Award of Excellence

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner congratulates King County Deputy Prosecutor Andy Hamilton on his Award of Excellence from the national Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. Hamilton works with the Insurance Commissioner’s Special Investigations Unit to prosecute criminal insurance fraud cases in King County. Hamilton has prosecuted more than 55 cases involving more than $5.5 million in losses, including convicted felons Edward Callow and Kevin Kolenda.

Hamilton, who has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and Deputy Prosecutor for more than 30 years, works in the King County Prosecutor’s economic crimes unit and was a police officer for four years before he earned his law degree.

Andy Hamilton accepts an Award of Excellence from the national 
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud 
from Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler on May 5. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

OIC seeks smart, savvy health care policy advisor

The OIC is hiring a highly skilled Senior Health Policy Advisor to acts as Commissioner Kreidler's primary advisor on all issues related to health care and health insurance issues, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This position is the Commissioner's trusted advisor and designee on ACA policy matters and other matters related to health insurance. This position is responsible for developing policy options for the resolution of health insurance issues. Once executive decisions are made concerning the purpose and scope of an initiative, this position will develop programs or initiatives reflected in work products such as reports, legislation or regulations.

Duties of this position include:
  • Acts as the first point-of-contact for consumer advocates and consumer/labor groups on matters pertaining to the ACA and other health insurance issues; 
  • Coordinates with the Governor's Office, Health Benefits Exchange (HBE), HCA and others on ACA implementation issues and other health coverage related issues and projects; 
  • Acts as the point-of-contact for legislative staff and member inquiries on ACA and other health insurance issues; 
  • Represents the Commissioner and agency at speaking engagements and meetings related to healthcare issues. Meetings may include, but are not limited to: Health Benefits Exchange Board, National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC) , Governor's Health Leadership Team, legislative hearings, rule-making and legislation stakeholdering; 
  • Analyzes existing and proposed laws, rules and proposals concerning health insurance legislation, preparing recommendations as needed for executive decision-making; 
  • Develops strategies, initiatives and recommendations to solve priority health insurance issues; and, 
  • Communicates and works with representatives from the insurance industry, public agencies, legislature and the public in development of initiatives to solve health insurance issues. 
View a full list of duties and apply here: Senior Health Policy Advisor (Civil Service Exempt)