LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 17th Issue June 23, 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.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

  • Pension Reform: Work in Progress
  • Budget: Work in Progress
  • Liquor Store Privatization: Work in Progress
  • House Bill 1436 (Truitt-R-Chester) was reported out unanimously by the House Children & Youth Committee June 17.  The bill would mandate health insurance coverage for certain low amino acid foods necessary for children who have severe allergic reactions.
  • June 17 the House Insurance Committee reported out House Bill 2340 (Kampf-R-Chester).  This bill sets forth the framework by which a reciprocal insurance company may convert to a stock insurance company.
  • On June 17, the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee reported Senate Bill 819 (Erickson-R-Chester) to give pharmacists the authority to administer immunizations to those over seven years old.  Pharmacists would be required to carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance.

WC BILL UP FOR COMMITTEE VOTE

On June 24, the House Labor & Industry Committee will consider House Bill 1846 (Quinn-R-Bucks), a measure addressing doctors’ issuing their own pharmaceuticals versus patients utilizing a drug store.  Rationale for the bill is the added cost to the Workers’ Compensation system because the average wholesale price for these doctor-dispensed drugs is greater; thus the statutory reimbursement rate of 110% is greater.  HB 1846 would require that doctors use the original manufacturer’s National Drug Code on bills they submit for reimbursement and limit physician dispensing to the first five days following initial treatment.

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NINE CARRIERS IN HEALTHY PA PLAN

On June 20, Governor Corbett’s office issued a statement saying that nine carriers had submitted paperwork to qualify as health plans under the Healthy PA alternative to expanding Medicaid per the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Healthy PA envisions newly eligible persons participating in the federally-facilitated exchange instead of in traditional Medicaid.  Dubbed ‘Private Coverage Option’, the plan must be approved by CMS.  PA will begin negotiating with each insurer since each of the nine verified that they: Posses a valid PA HMO Certificate of Authority; Assure that all federal and state requirements would be met; Possess PA Department of Health operational authority in the counties they intend to operate; Possess recent National Committee for Quality Assurance accreditation of “commendable, excellent, or accredited”.

PA is divided into nine regions (service areas).  Region 7 for example includes Adams, Berks York, and LancasterCounties.  Carriers servicing Region 7 would be Geisinger, United, UPMC, Gateway, Vista, and Capital Blue Cross.  Link to release follows:

https://www.pa.gov/Pages/NewsDetails.aspx?agency=Governors%20Office&item=15756#.U6Vbqnag4k8

CORBETT REACTS TO AARP REPORT

On June 20, the Corbett Administration disputed findings of a June 19 AARP report citing PA as ranking 42d in terms of providing services to seniors.  Secretary of Aging Brian Duke said that the report missed progress PA has made and was based on outdated information.  AARP link follows: https://www.longtermscorecard.org/databystate/state?state=PA#.U6VbNHag4k8

JOINT COMMITTEE HEARING WILL REVIEW CORBETT ALZHEIMERS PLAN

Also on June 24, a joint meeting of the House Aging & Older Adult Services and the Senate Aging & Youth Committee will hear testimony from Secretary of Aging Brian Duke and the Corbett Administration on the findings and recommendations of the Alzheimer’s Disease State Planning Committee which Governor Corbett appointed last year.  The State Plan approval by Corbett was announced June 12.

TAX CREDIT SOUGHT AT LTC COMMISSION HEARING

Testifying before the sixth hearing of Governor Corbett’s Long-Term Care Commission June 20, the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) asked the Commission to recommend a LTC insurance tax credit against the Personal Income Tax and remove some impediments to marketing long-term care insurance.  Some of these obstacles involve PA requesting a waiver from the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) permitting brokers to discuss more than one insurance product at one time, amending Act 40 to soften the mandatory inflation protection requirement which prices Partnership policies out of the reach of the middle class.  PAHU said that strengthening the private sector is essential given the dramatic increases in Medicaid spending for long-term care because a private sector long-term care insurance policy means that the taxpayers won’t have to pay for long-term care.  Others testifying represented those seeking or preserving programs that allow the disabled to function normally in our society (independent living) as well as Meals on Wheels and Adult Day Care (dubbed ‘Grannycare’ by one of the presenters).  One presenter took members of the Commission by surprise when he called for all care givers including family members to be required to register as employees, be covered by Workers’ Compensation, etc.

A new hearing is scheduled July 14 at PhiladelphiaCity Hall. Those seeking to attend, testify, or submit written comments should contact the LTC Commission. NOTE: The Philadelphia hearing was announced June 20 and the website has not caught up to it yet, so perhaps wait until mid-week to register.

https://www.dpw.state.pa.us/dpworganization/officeoflongtermliving/ltcc/index.htm

REGULATORY UPDATE

  • The Insurance Department scheduled an informational hearing July 23 on the proposed acquisition of OneBeacon Insurance Company, a PA domiciled stock casualty company, Potomac Insurance Company, a MA-domiciled stock casualty insurance company, and the Employers’ Fire Insurance Company, a MA domestic stock casualty insurance company by Trebuchet US holdings, Inc.  Location is at 901 North 7th Street, Harrisburg beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Details: Steven L. Yerger syerger@pa.gov.
  • Department of Public Welfare announced June 21 that HHS has given the agency a green light in allowing alternatives to Social Security numbers such as a driver’s license when an individual applies for a recreational hunting and fishing license.  This decision by HHS marks the third exemption PA has received with the earlier two being granted in 2009 and 2011.  Details: Department of Public Welfare, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement, ATT: Kevin Cuistwite, PO Box 8018, Harrisburg, PA17105

INCASE YOU MISSED IT…Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver’s House Bill 2009 to modernize the Credit Union Code was signed into law June 18 by Governor as Act 62 of 2014…House Bill 2299 (Pickett-R-Bradford) to improve children’s access to CHIP by streamlining eligibility and renewal processes was reported by the Insurance Committee June 9 and re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

OF NOTE…Chambersburg insurance agent Rita McMullen was named a ‘Woman of Influence’ by the Central Penn Business Journal.  This annual award recognizes 25 influential women in south central PA.  McMullen is regarded as an authority on Crop Insurance.

DON’T FORGET PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES’ SUMMER SIZZLER CE SERIES

 in Erie, Warren, Lancaster and Horsham.  Details: Joan Troutman 717/732-7255

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