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Majority of Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Insurance Plans Fail to Cover Care at Seattle Children’s; Hospital Sues Seeking Adequate Network Coverage for Children and Families

October 04, 2013

Omitting coverage for care at a facility like Children’s prevents families from accessing vital services they may desperately need

Today, Seattle Children's Hospital filed suit citing the failure of Washington state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) to ensure adequate network coverage in several Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) plans. We believe strongly that the OIC and the majority of plans on the Exchange have failed to meet their mandate, as they do not currently cover care provided at Children’s.

Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in King County and the preeminent provider of many pediatric specialty services in the Northwest. Some of these specialized services not available elsewhere in our area or region include acute cancer care, level IV neonatal intensive care and heart, liver and intestinal transplantation. 

Without inclusion of Children’s, current and future patients and families who obtain insurance from several plans offered will not be able to access care at Children’s as an in-network provider. This lack of suitable access to pediatric services means that families enrolled in these plans may not receive the most timely, appropriate care, and face larger out-of-pocket amounts.  

“Every child should have access to essential healthcare and the intent of the new Exchange is to make it available to all families,” said Thomas Hansen, MD, CEO, Seattle Children’s. “However, we are very concerned about the limited networks being offered by some Exchange insurance plans. Omitting coverage for care at a facility like Children’s prevents families from accessing vital services they may desperately need.”

Children’s is committed to working with the OIC and Exchange insurers, and we hope a solution to this concerning situation can be found soon for Washington families.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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