Insurer fined for denying contraceptive care



The state has fined Regence BlueShield $100,000 for denying contraceptive coverage to 984 women. Washington has required contraceptive coverage since Jan. 1, 2002.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler fined Regence BlueShield after a consumer complained that the insurer covered the insertion of her intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD), but denied coverage for its removal.

Regence told Kreidler’s office that removal of the device had to be “medically necessary,” according to the state office. If an IUD were outdated or a woman wanted to become pregnant, that was not a reason to cover its removal, Regence allegedly said.

The insurer has reprocessed and paid all similar claims from Jan. 1, 2002, through May 25, 2010, totaling $148,740.37.

Regence BlueShield operates in Clark County through its sister nonprofit, Regence BlueCross BlueShield.