In conjunction with the Locke Lord COVID-19 task force, we are reviewing, analyzing, and compiling regulatory updates to provide clients easy access to information during this unprecedented time.  If you have any questions on the subject matter below, do not hesitate to reach out.  The information below relates to state and federal bulletins, emergency orders, pending/enacted legislation, and other related actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Lines of Insurance

Arkansas:  On October 13, Bulletin No. 28A-2020, which extended the moratorium on cancellations and nonrenewals, expired.  According to the Arkansas Department of Insurance, they do not intend to reissue or extend the Bulletin.

West Virginia:  On October 15, Commissioner Dodrill issued Emergency Order 20-EO-09, rescinding COVID-19 Emergency Order 20-EO-01, and Emergency Order 20-EO-04.  The Order modifies Emergency Order 20-EO-02, Emergency Order 20-EO-03, and Emergency Order 20-EO-06.  Among other things, Emergency Order 20-EO-02 is modified to rescind the portion of the order prohibiting an insurer from issuing a cancellation notice or nonrenewal notice pertaining to any insurance policy, plan or contract if the reason for cancellation or nonrenewal is a result of circumstance stemming from COVID-19.

Property and Casualty Insurance

Oregon:  On October 7, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services/Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) issued a notice of meeting and request for advice regarding the temporary rule on claims for COVID-19 exposure. The adopted temporary rule will expire on March 29, 2021 and the WCD is requesting advice on whether to replace it with a permanent rule.  A virtual meeting has been scheduled for October 28 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm.

Health Insurance

Washington:  On October 15, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended Emergency Order 20-02, directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. The Extended Order is in effect until November 13 and requires health insurers to:

  • Continue coverage for providing telehealth via methods including telephone and video chat tools such as Facetime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangout video, Skype and Go-to-Meeting.
  • Cover all medically necessary diagnostic testing for flu and certain other viral respiratory illnesses billed during a provider visit for COVID-19 with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.
  • Treat drive-up testing sites for COVID-19 as provider visit with no copay, coinsurance or deductible.

To help free up hospital beds, Commissioner Kreidler is directing health insurers to waive or expedite prior authorization requirements for home healthcare or long-term care facility services to speed up discharging patients who are ready to leave.

Wisconsin:  On October 13, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) issued a Bulletin in order to continue working with health insurers to minimize out-of-network barriers for insured patients seeking telemedicine services. The Bulletin was issued in response to Governor Evers Emergency Order #2.  As outlined in the Emergency Order, COVID-19 is placing a strain on the capacity of healthcare facilities and the contagious nature of the disease may result in non-COVID-19 related health treatments being canceled or delayed. Because of these issues, the OCI Bulletin states that, Health Plan Issuers are once again strongly encouraged to remove any barriers to their insureds utilizing telemedicine services. Health Plan Issuers are reminded to review provisions in current policies regarding the delivery of health care services via telemedicine and ensure their telemedicine programs with participating providers are robust and will be able to meet any increased demand.