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The Seattle Space Needle

(The Center Square) — A study has found Washington state is among the top-10 states most active in crafting health care policies tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In its most recent study, QuoteWizard evaluated Kaiser Family Foundation data on policies implemented by all 50 states to both fight the virus and care for patients infected by it.

After analyzing seven health policy actions, Washington came out as the sixth for most health policy action taken during the pandemic. 

The study's findings were based on seven categories.

Among them were whether states waived cost-sharing expenses for COVID-19 hospital treatments and offered vaccines free of charge.

State policies affecting early prescription refills, grace periods for health care premium payments, and expanded access to telehealth services also served as criteria for the study.

Lastly, extended marketplace special enrollment periods and paid sick leave were considered as well in the study.

Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York were determined to have most aggressively instituted pandemic health care policies, researchers at QuoteWizard found.

Only eight states require the COVID-19 vaccine to be offered for free through public or employer insurer agreements and Washington is not among them.

People around the country are just as concerned about how hard the pandemic could hit their wallet, according to the study.

About 68% of respondents polled reported out-of-pocket expenses would be a driving force in whether or not to get treatment for COVID-19.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act reserved around $1 billion to cover COVID-19 testing for uninsured people under Medicaid.

About 88% of enrollees in the individual and fully-insured group markets are covered by plans that have taken action to limit out-of-pocket costs for patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

QuoteWizard is a privately-held insurance lead provider which analyzes proprietary and state-level data for its national industry reports which include health care policy.

According to a study released by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's office last week, the Puget Sound area could be seeing the fewest COVID-19 cases in the country currently even as cases continue to rise.

Last month, the Washington Department of Health reported it had received $5 million in federal money for distributing an eventual COVID-19 vaccine and paying for vendor contracts and staff.

Last Friday, the DOH reported the state has seen more than 93,000 cases of COVID-19 this year and 2,190 deaths from the virus.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.