On April 30, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, signed HB 1531-S.SL into law. This law will impact how interest is charged on medical accounts in Washington State and what letter changes need to be made regarding the debt.
The new law will cap interest charged on medical debt at 9%, down from 12%. Washington State laws go into effect 90 days after they are signed into law.
DAKCS attended the 2019 Northwest Collectors Association Conference on May 16-18, 2019 in Stevenson, WA. HB 1531-S.SL was a big topic at the event.
When DAKCS joined the conversation, we discussed how agencies will need to conform to the new regulation.
The deadline to create a solution was July 28, 2019, and most agencies felt the need for urgency. After the conference, Senior Account Executive Reid Miller returned to DAKCS headquarters and assembled a task force to address the new change in the law.
Getting the team in place to get the job done
This task force identified the current customers the law will have the greatest impact on and scheduled a conference call on June 5. The group brainstormed ideas about the software and how it could assist with the needed change requirement.
Product manager Justin Devine reached out to each of the customers individually after the initial conference call to discuss solutions and obtain feedback on the impact on their businesses.
After input was collected, the DAKCS team created two solutions to meet the change.
- Update the clients to 9%, the accounts for those clients to 9%, and convert the accumulated interest to reflect an accumulation at a 9% rate.
- Create another line item for interest accrued at 12% before July 28, 2019. Then display the new rate that would start accruing at 9%.
What the change would require in the collection software
This second change would require customers to have two separate lines of interest listed in their letters. This solution change would also require there to be coordination with letter vendors to update all the letters with this new interest language increasing the scope and complexity of the project.
DAKCS held a second conference call on June 14 to present the two possible solutions to the customers. As a group, the Washington and Idaho customers decided to take the conservative route with the first solution and update all the interest in their systems to reflect a 9% rate.
“We were faced with several options including whether to retain interest before the law went into full effect or retroactively reduce accrued interest,” says Tyler. “Ultimately the simplicity, ease of integration, and explanation for our consumers caused us to choose to retroactively reduce interest.”
“The DAKCS team did a great job listening to the concerns of the individual agencies and worked with us at every step of the way to ensure a thorough solution that we had confidence would work,” says Tyler. “We appreciate the attention to detail and professionalism exhibited at every step in the process.”
The implementation process
The DAKCS team worked to update all the necessary qualifying clients and accounts with the correct interest rate, update the interest amounts to correct amounts, and provide a systematic record of what, when, and why the data had been changed.
Leading up to the week of July 22, the team continued to work with customers who collect in Washington, individually, to ensure the software changes were in place and that the account interest was what they expected.
“Regulatory changes and compliance are important to our customers,” states Reid Miller, Senior Account Executive at DAKCS. “Working with our customers on a personal level to understand the impacts and to find a common-ground solution to this urgent requirement exemplifies our partnership philosophy and why we do what we do.”
Why we do what we do
Partnering with our customers to find solutions in a timely matter is a core piece of the DAKCS difference.
As we actively listen to our customers and take action, we open up new opportunities for growth and change—one of the main ingredients to what makes DAKCS who we are and why we’ve been a partner in the industry for over thirty-five years.
Learn more about how DAKCS partners with you for the long run and to solve problems on a state level.