LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 11th Issue April 28, 2014

LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol.  It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities.  It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU).  Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 or e-mail to xenobun@aol.com.  Please email jtrout2792@aol.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.

LTC HEARINGS SET BY CORBETT ADMINISTRATION

The Corbett Administration’s Long-Term Care Commission is convening hearings across PA to ascertain the state of long-term care in the Commonwealth.  Although the quality of care and availability of resources (staff and financial) will be discussed, the hearings also present an opportunity to present views on long-term care insurance as a means to sustain a person’s financial independence which in turn saves tax dollars in the Medicaid program.  The PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) has made this a priority, seeking to show the Commission some of the impediments that hinder LTC qualified Partnership and other LTC insurance placement.  Details: Vince Phillips 717/232-0022 or xenobun@aol.com.

Hearings are scheduled as follows:

  • Mercer County:  May 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at MercerCountyCareerCenter, 776 Greenville Road, Mercer16137
  • Allegheny County:  May 9 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at A.W.BeattieCareerCenter, 9600 Babcock Blvd., Allison Park 15101
  • Lycoming County:  May 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at PA College of Technology, One College Avenue, Williamsport17701
  • Montgomery County: June 6 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at MontgomeryCountyCommunity College, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell 19422
  • Pike County: June 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at PikeCountyTrainingCenter, 135 Pike County Blvd., Lords Valley18428

Those wishing to testify or present verbal comments must pre-register via www.dpw.state.pa.us or 717/425-5719.   Comments are in five minute increments and presenters are asked to submit written comments as well.  Written input will be accepted through June 27, 2014 to Long-Term Care Commission, c/o PA Dept. of Public Welfare, PO Box 8025, Harrisburg, PA 17105, Attention: OLTL Policy or by emailing a submission to the LTC Commission at ra-LTCCommission@pa.gov.  Details on the Commission’s mission may be found at https://www.dpw.state.pa.us/dpworganization/officeoflongtermliving/ltcc/index.htm .

In other Long-Term Care Commission news, Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) was named to the LTC Commission by Governor Corbett on April 25.

SENATE COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE SALES TAX EXPANSION/PROPERTY TAX END

On April 30, the Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony on an amendment to property tax elimination legislation, Senate Bill 76 (Argall-R-Schuylkill).  SB 76 would eliminate property taxes and replace those revenues with an increase in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) and an increase in the state sales tax to seven percent.  In addition, numerous existing exemptions from the sales tax would disappear including many of those for professional services.  To be taxed would be investment counseling and the issue of taxing fee income to insurance agents may be relevant to this amendment.  PAHU has been working to exempt fees paid to agents and brokers from the state sales tax.  The House counterpart to SB 76 is House Bill 76 (Cox-R-Berks).  It has not seen House Finance Committee action.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETURNS TO HARRISBURG

This week, the PA General Assembly returns to Harrisburg with a full agenda, both in session schedule and through the various committees.  Here are some items to look forward to:

 

SENATE CALENDAR — The Self-Service Storage Facility Act (Robbins-R-Mercer) is on the Senate calendar.  Although not an insurance bill – it involves liens – it could be used as a vehicle for some to try to graft on language permitting unlicensed clerks working for those self-storage facilities to sell contents (property) insurance.  Bills on second consideration (which means that they are not yet ready for a full vote by the Senate but could be re-referred to another committee such as Appropriations or simply readied for later floor action) are:  Senate Resolution 340 (White-R-Indiana) urging Congress to re-authorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIA) which is set to expire by year’s end.  Senate Bill 1329 (White-R-Indiana) updating the PA Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association Act governing payment to consumers if a carrier becomes insolvent.  Senate Bill 594 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks) seeking to prohibit healthcare plans from shifting costs of medical care to the consumer by limiting co-payments to no more than the cost of the co-payment or coinsurance for an insured’s primary care physician office visit.

HOUSE CALENDAR currently does not have insurance-related items listed.

COMMITTEE WORK

  • Informational meeting by the House Human Services Committee examines the makeup of PA’s uninsured population.  Although not explicitly stated, much of the conversation will revolve around expansion of Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level per the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Governor Corbett’s proposed alternative, Healthy PA, which has been submitted to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as a waiver request.
  • Data breach notification by state agencies to the Attorney General within three days is the thrust of House Bill 2167 (Swanger-R-Lebanon) being considered by the House Commerce Committee April 29.
  • The House Insurance Committee will convene April 29 to consider House Resolution 799 (Godshall-R-Montgomery).  It calls on Congress to pass legislation re-authorizing the Terrorism Risk Reinsurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 which extended the original TRIA.

DEPT ISSUES EXPORT LIST

On April 26, the PA Insurance Department published its annual export list in the PA Bulletin (www.pabulletin.com). The export list specifies which types of insurance coverage are not subject to the due diligence (declinations from the admitted market) requirements of PA’s Surplus Lines Law.  This means that for certain coverages, a producer may seek help from a surplus lines licensee in entering the Surplus & Excess Lines market without the due diligence normally taking place. The 2014 addition to this list is Flood Insurance.

PPACA NOTES

NAHU Newswire (April 23) reports that Michigan is considering legislation requiring registration and criminal background checks (HB 4576) for Navigators and that California’s exchange, Covered California, may require criminal checks for Navigators if legislation is enacted…. Federally-facilitated exchange enrollees must change their healthcare.gov passwords because of system vulnerabilities to the Heartbleed Virus. Presumably, that means that brokers will have to do the same. Presumably, all exchange enrollees were notified about this potential threat to their account….It appears that Oregon may relinquish its state-based exchange to the Federal Government’s federally-facilitated exchange (marketplace)…It appears that Maryland’s $90 million troubled exchange will remain a state-based exchange…. Aetna says that it has 360,000 paid exchange enrollees…. The Obama Administration claims that 35% of exchange enrollees are under 35….LifeHealthPro reported on April 25 that HHS is allowing another extension for exchange enrollment until June 30 for those previously enrolled in the ACA pre-existing condition insurance plan (risk pool).

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