Violation Category: There are two named Plaintiffs – six-year-old O.S.T. and two-year-old L.H. O.S.T. was diagnosed with autism and receives speech, physical and occupational therapy and continued to receive neurodevelopmental therapies. L.H. was diagnosed with expressive language disorder, myotubular myopathy, profound hypotonia, and severe hydrocephalus. L.H. also receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Both Plaintiffs are, or were, insured by Defendant. Both Plaintiffs’ policies contained blanket exclusions for neurodevelopmental therapy.
Short Description: The Defendants argued that the Washington Mental Health Parity Act and the WA Neurodevelopmental Therapies Mandate conflict. In support of its argument that the two statutes do conflict, Defendants argue that the neurodevelopmental therapies are an exception to the Parity Act based on the statutory maxim expression unius est exclusion alterius. In its application, the Defendants argue that the NDT mandate has positive and negative requirements and that ultimately, the NDT statute conflicts with the Parity Act. The Court does not find this argument persuasive because the statutory language is not ambiguous. The Defendants also argue that where the legislature adopts a general statute after a specific statute, the original specific statute is an exception to the general statute unless repealed. However, again, the statutes do not conflict. The Court also states that it disfavors repeals by implication and that in this case, the two statutes can stand side-by-side and both be held valid.
Appeal/Disposition: Ultimately, the Court finds that summary judgment was proper and that the blanket exclusion violates the WA Parity Act.