Wash. Chiropractors Petition Ins. Commissioner for Relief

September 12, 2005

Citing “the growing threat to our patients and our profession,” the Washington State Chiropractic Association (WSCA) announced Monday that it has petitioned Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to stop some insurance companies from
discriminating against the chiropractic profession.

The WSCA has filed formal petitions with the Insurance Commissioner
requesting new rules designed to fix the growing problems caused by the few large health insurers reportedly dominating Washington markets. “We can no longer ignore the growing threat to our patients and our profession,” said Dr. Bill Davis, WSCA president. “Chiropractors want to spend time with patients not contracts. “We are asking the Insurance Commissioner to step in and stop the discrimination and unfair practices of some companies.”

According to the WSCA, the large insurers are forcing chiropractors into lopsided contracts that small practices cannot afford to reject. Insurers tie one product to another so that the chiropractor cannot choose between plans or programs. They terminate contracts without cause, forcing patients to find new doctors, and refuse to pay chiropractors who step in to take care of a colleague’s patients.

“Imagine what your life would be like if there was only one grocery store and they made you buy a pack of cigarettes with every gallon of milk and kicked you out if you complained,” Davis said. “That’s our life with the big insurers.”

The Commissioner has 60 days to rule on the petitions, and may accept, reject or change the requested rules. The petitions seek improvements to existing rules governing contracts between insurers and practitioners.

The amendments would ban some existing insurer practices and would set new standards for the health care networks of the three largest insurers in Washington.

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