Behavioral Health Emergency Services Under E2SHB 1688 and OIC Webinar

Updated: May 29

In the 2022 Legislative Session, the Washington State Legislature passed E2SHB 1688 to protect consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services, by aligning state law and the federal no surprises act and addressing coverage of treatment for emergency conditions, including emergency behavioral health care.


The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) hosted a webinar for behavioral health service providers and organizations on May 2, 2022. The webinar described the provisions of E2SHB 1688 related to behavioral health and can be viewed here .



Under the act, health plans must cover “emergency services” provided to a consumer in an out of-network (nonparticipating) hospital emergency department or by a behavioral health emergency services provider. Because behavioral health emergency services providers are integrated into the definition of emergency services under our state law, these providers cannot balance bill consumers enrolled in fully insured individual and group health plans, Washington state public employee and school employee health benefit plans or self-funded group health plans that have opted into the BBPA and cannot ask these consumers to give up their balance billing protections.


The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has provided information on 1688 here.


In addition, visit links below for helpful documents specific to behavioral health: