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caption: A screengrab from Health Insurance Innovations website, which was fined $1.5 million for selling plans to Washingtonians who could not use the plans in-state.
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A screengrab from Health Insurance Innovations website, which was fined $1.5 million for selling plans to Washingtonians who could not use the plans in-state.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Beware online medical insurance you can't use here in Washington state

If you’ve shopped for cheap medical insurance online – watch out. From January 2016 through October 1, 2018, Washington customers bought over 34,000 flawed policies.

Health Insurance Innovations bills itself as an online platform selling discount health insurance. But it sold policies that weren’t authorized in Washington, didn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, and were from agents and brokers that didn't follow state law.

“People thought they had a policy that would cover a medical bill but when they went to get reimbursed for those bills they found out that, no, these really aren’t health insurance policies,” said spokesman for the state insurance commissioner, Steve Valandra.

The insurance commissioner found more than 50,000 violations of state law. Now, the company is paying a fine of $1.5 million dollars, the largest of its type in state history. The company stopped selling policies in Washington last April. Health Insurance Innovations did not respond to a request for comment.