Oversight of the Office of Insurance Commissioner

March 27, 2014

It's been said there are two things you never want to see being made - sausage and legislation. In many cases, proposed legislation morphs into a totally different bill when finally passed. Fortunately, this was not exactly the situation with SB 6458.

The original purpose of SB 6458 was to replace the office of the insurance commissioner (OIC) in Washington state with a state insurance board. In health care related matters, the OIC had become virtually autonomous and answered to no other state officials. The commissioner is an elected official in Washington state, yet there has been very little oversight of the office.

By the time SB 6458 passed both houses of the legislature, it did not eliminate the OIC. It did, however, require the insurance commissioner to notify the appropriate legislative committees, the exchange, the health care authority and the governor's office of any rule change in the health care area. The bill passed with support of both parties in the House and Senate.

This law will eliminate, or at least reduce, the autonomy of the OIC.