As the nation’s insurers begin to make the shift in covering birth control for women, some companies are falling behind. Washington’s Regence BlueShield, one of the state’s largest health insurance companies, is being fined by state insurance regulators for denying coverage to nearly 1,000 women. The company is now facing fines coming from the state’s Insurance Department. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler was first made aware of the issue early this week when a consumer contacted his office to file a complaint.
Regence BlueShield now faces a $100,000 fine for what regulators call “misconduct.” Since regulators confronted the company, it has reprocessed the claims it had denied over an eight year period, paying out more than $148,000 in claims. The company is also required to pay 8% interest on every policy they denied coverage to.
Washington has been home to laws requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for contraceptives since 2002, long before any federal regulations regarding the issue came into being. Kreidler says that Regence will serve as an example for what can happen to companies that attempt to shirk their duties to the local and federal government.
According to a statement released by the state’s Insurance Department, any resident of the state that feels they have been cheated by their insurance company should contact regulators. In this case, it took one simple call to get coverage for nearly 1,000 women.