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Law Regulates Discount Programs

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Washington state has established disclosure requirements for companies that provide health care discounts without also providing health insurance.

Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire has signed a bill, S. 5480, that will require health discount programs to get a license from the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner and to file an annual statement the lists the number of current program members and describes how program administrators will handle complaints.

The programs also must have written provider agreements that include the services and products that are discounted and the amount of the discounts, and the programs must meet marketing materials standards.

The programs may not, for example, use the term “insurance” or other terms that could lead consumers to believe that the product is insurance, officials say.