Yakima judge blocks Trump Administration’s Double-Billing Rule

Washington Attorney General
Washington Attorney General's Office
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. 

YAKIMA, Wash. — A federal judge in Yakima blocked the Trump Administration’s Double-Billing rule, saying it violates Washington State’s Reproductive Health Care Access for All Act.

The act, passed in May 2019, includes a single-invoice provision requiring health insurance companies to bill enrollees with a single invoice for each coverage period.

In December, the Trump Administration proposed the Double-Billing Rule to require health insurance companies to send consumers two separate bills for monthly insurance premiums: one for abortion coverage and another for all coverage. The rule also directs insurers to demand two separate checks or two separate online transactions when paying the two bills.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in January. Ferguson claimed the rule would cause many Washington women to inadvertently fail to pay their premiums in full, jeopardizing their health coverage.

“Washington State supports a woman’s right to choose, as well as her right to access safe and legal abortion care… The Double-Billing Rule attempts to intrude on the State’s right to do so by imposing onerous, arbitrary, and unnecessary billing practices that have little to do with providing efficient and effective medical coverage and everything to do with trying to prevent Washington State’s recognition of women’s rights to access safe and legal abortions,” Judge Stanley A. Bastian said.

“The Trump Administration illegally sought to undermine protections for Washington women adopted with bipartisan support by our Legislature — and we stopped them,” Ferguson said. “By now, this is becoming a similar refrain — President Trump acted illegally, and my team had to go to court to protect the rights of Washingtonians.”

Ferguson has filed 29 lawsuits against the Trump Administration. He has won 28 and 17 of those lawsuits are final and cannot be appealed.

READ: Wash. Attorney General launches website to track progress of rape kit testing

READ: Spokane-based online retailer accused of price-gouging hand sanitizer