Three people in Washington state face insurance fraud charges after investigations by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).

Arnold Bodner was charged in Island County Superior Court with one felony count of filing a fraudulent insurance claim. According to the investigation, Bodner filed a claim with his auto insurer in March 2019 for his 2006 Hummer H2. He claimed that he loaned the car to a friend in December 2018 and the friend sold it without his permission. First National Insurance Co. of America, his insurer, investigated and found documentation showing Bodner had sold the vehicle to an auto dealer in December 2018 for $4,000. …


Although the Trump administration has after four years has finally done something that could actually help the nation’s healthcare system, what’s distressing are its continuing actions that stand to reverse any positive movement.

The administration last week issued a final a rule designed to enhance price transparency requirements for healthcare. This includes a mandate that some health plans make public the rates negotiated with medical providers included in the plan’s network.

Prices for drugs would also be made available.

If carried out successfully — certainly no guarantee under this administration — the rule in practice would give consumers a realistic view of what hospitals charge for various types of medical services. That’s sorely needed — and the type of transparency that writers of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had in mind from the start a decade ago. …


Wildfires in Washington state have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in recent weeks. Sadly, with recovery often comes people who are trying to profit off the large-scale disaster. Estimates for this year’s fire are that over 300 homes were destroyed or damaged and around 375 minor structures (outbuildings like standalone garages, sheds, etc.) were destroyed or damaged.

A graphic box with contact information for agency and other resources.
A graphic box with contact information for agency and other resources.

One consumer reported to us that contractors were waiting in the stairwell of an apartment building while people were evacuating, claiming to represent an insurance company and asking residents to sign a work authorization for restoration and repair. …


If you’re one of the thousands of people in Washington state who’ve lost your job and your health insurance, we know these are incredibly difficult times for you and your family. Unfortunately, you also need to watch out for bad actors trying to take advantage of your situation.

We’ve heard from consumers shopping for health insurance who thought they were on the state’s official health insurance exchange, only to learn later they’d been tricked into buying less substantial coverage.

Last week, we partnered with Washington’s Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder.org to help spread the word about what to look for.

an image of Washington’s official health insurance marketplace, www.wahealthplanfinder.org
an image of Washington’s official health insurance marketplace, www.wahealthplanfinder.org
Washington’s official health insurance marketplace, Wahealthplanfinder.org

This problem is not unique to Washington state, as the U.S. Government Oversight Agency (GAO) found. They recently announced findings from an investigation that revealed some insurance agents may have used deceptive sales practices when marketing health coverage. …


Five people in Washington pleaded guilty to insurance fraud-related charges from March to August 2020.

Like many services, the court system had to rethink the way it does business during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting with the June cases, all suspects have attended hearings via video conference.

Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) investigates insurance fraud and works with the Washington State Patrol and state and local prosecutors on criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the commissioner.

Anyone can report suspected insurance fraud on the insurance commissioner’s website.

3 facts about insurance fraud and the harm it causes to consumers
3 facts about insurance fraud and the harm it causes to consumers

August

Jamar Glenn pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to a felony charge of filing a false insurance claim. He was given credit for over 150 days served in jail and will pay a $500 victim compensation fee. …


The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has taken many steps to help insurance consumers during the coronavirus pandemic, and that work continues.

Image for post
Image for post

We also have found ways to help insurance producers — known as insurance agents and brokers — who may have been affected by the statewide shutdown and resulting economic fallout.

  • Our state was the first in the nation to allow insurance producers to take online licensing exams, which started before the pandemic, but our vendor rapidly rolled out statewide as a result. Based on Washington’s experience, a dozen states have now adopted the same practice.
  • We allowed producers with renewal dates from March through June until July 31 if they had a COVID-related hardship. We approved all 166 requests we received. …

A core part of the OIC’s mission is to help consumers who have filed complaints against their insurance companies and hold insurance companies and producers accountable if they engage in discriminatory practices.

In a message to staff last week, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said:

“As an agency that works every day to help people, we know that deep inequities exist that negatively affect many, especially people of color.

“We see the deep inequities that exist in the physical and behavioral health care system. We know that circumstances in which individuals live, work and play determine their overall health. …


People who have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance should be extremely cautious when considering offers that promise great coverage for bargain-basement premiums, said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

“Unfortunately, during tough times there will be unscrupulous operators promising great coverage for a low price,” Kreidler said. “Far too often, consumers are promised the moon only to find out too late they’re not really protected.”

A stethoscope and a little house made from dollar bills.
A stethoscope and a little house made from dollar bills.
Health cost sharing ministries leave many out in the cold, critics say— National Catholic Reporter

If you’re shopping for health insurance and something sounds too good to be true, you should ask a lot of questions and read the fine print before buying. …


With millions of Americans losing their employer-sponsored health insurance because of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump continues his onslaught against the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The president is doubling down on a Republican challenge to the ACA, with the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to hear arguments in the coming months.

Image for post
Image for post
VOX — 15 charts that show how Obamacare works now — and how Republicans would overhaul it

As ill-considered and completely heartless as his decision is, it’s no surprise. This is the same president who four years ago promised us a “beautiful” alternative to the ACA. …


Image for post
Image for post
Mount St. Helens erupting on May 18, 1980.

Mount St. Helens erupted 40 years ago today, on May 18, 1980.

If you lived in Washington state in 1980, you likely have a recollection or story about Mount St. Helens’ eruption. Even if you lived elsewhere you may remember, as it made national and international news when it happened.

We haven’t had a major eruption since then, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Washington state is home to five active volcanoes.

Image for post
Image for post
The five volcanos in Washington state. Courtesy of WA DNR.

Mount St. Helens’ eruptions was triggered by a 5.1-magnitude earthquake. A lot of people don’t know that homeowner insurance doesn’t cover damage from earthquakes— you need a separate policy for earthquake coverage.

Here are some frequently asked questions about volcanoes and insurance. …

About

WA State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler regulates the insurance industry and protects insurance consumers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store