LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 13th Issue *** April 27, 2015

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 CHANGES

Two members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are leaving April 30 and a third Representative may depart in May.

  • Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) is a member of the House Insurance Committee and was elected in 2004.  His other committees include Appropriations, Judiciary, and Gaming Oversight.  He is the incoming Executive Director of the Public School Employee Retirement System.
  • Joe Hackett (R-Delaware) was elected in 2010 and serves on the House Human Services, Professional Licensure, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees. He stated that he is returning to law enforcement.
  • John Sabatina (D-Phila.) was elected in 2006 and now serves as the Democratic Chair of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.  He is running in a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Senator and now Lt. Governor Mike Stack.  His Republican opponent is teacher Tim Dailey.

 

LONG-TERM CARE COUNCIL BILL PASSES HOUSE

On April 15, House Bill 753 (Schlegel-Culver-R-Northumberland/Snyder) passed the House 193-0 and was referred to the Senate Aging & Youth Committee.  This legislation creates the Long-Term Care Council to create a permanent emphasis by the state on meeting the needs of seniors requiring long-term care.  Of importance to insurance producers is that one member must be a licensed insurance agent with ten years experience selling long-term care insurance.  This would ensure Council consideration that the private sector insurance market must be strengthened as an offset to rising Medicaid expenditures for long-term care.  Passage of HB 753 is one of PAHU’s three top legislative priorities.  Senate Aging & Youth Committee Chair Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer) indicated to PAHU that she plans to move the bill through committee May 12.

 

WOLF ADMINISTRATION NOMINEES BEGIN SENATE APPROVAL QUEST

Nominees for various Cabinet posts are in the process of being interviewed by relevant committees prior to confirmation votes by the full Senate.  Coming up are Curtis Topper for the Department of General Services (May 5), Eileen McNulty, Revenue Department (May 6), Pedro Cortes, Department of State (May 12), and Russell Redding for the PA Agriculture Department (May 12).  Already favorably reported by committees but still needing a full Senate vote are:

–          Education Secretary nominee Pedro Rivera

–          PennDOT Secretary nominee Leslie Richards

–          Turnpike Commissioner nominee Bill Lieberman

A Senate Banking & Insurance Committee hearing on the Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller has not yet been scheduled.

 

CHIP REAUTHORIZATION PASSES HOUSE

House Bill 857 (Pickett-R-Bradford) reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) until December 31, 2017, passed the House April 22 by a vote of 196-0.  Without reauthorization, CHIP would sunset at the end of this year.

 

COMPETING FLOOD BILLS PASS HOUSE, SENATE

As with the last legislative session, there are competing bills from the House and Senate which eliminate a hard copy Insurance Department report to the General Assembly on Flood Insurance policies in Pennsylvania.  Senate Bill 494 (Ward-R-Westmoreland) passed the Senate 48-0 on April 22.  House Bill 717 (Pickett-R-Bradford) passed the House earlier on April 13 by a 197-0 vote.  Each bill is in the other chamber for consideration.

 

ELECTRONIC LIFE POLICY DELIVERY PASSES HOUSE

Legislation permitting electronic delivery of life insurance policies and annuities passed the House April 22 unanimously.  House Bill 972 (Pickett-R-Bradford will be referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee for consideration.

 

NATUROPATHIC BILL PASSES HOUSE — With Liability Insurance Requirement

Passing the House by a vote of 169-25 on April 22 was House Bill 516 (Mustio-R-Allegheny) establishing licensure for naturopathic doctors.  Of interest to the insurance industry is a requirement that those doctors have $1,000,000 medical malpractice liability insurance.

 

COMMITTEE WORK…

  • Senate Bill 3 (Folmer-R-Lebanon) to legalize use of medical cannabis was reported out by the Senate State Government Committee April 21 by a unanimous vote.
  • Senate Bill 487 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks) passed the Senate 21 by a vote of 47-0.  The legislation would prohibit healthcare plans from charging multiple co-payments for licensed physical therapy, chiropractic and occupational therapy.
  • House Bill 159 (Kampf-R-Chester) appears to be headed for final legislative action before going to the Governor for his signature.  The Senate considered it twice and a third day of consideration is required before a final vote.  HB 159 provides medical malpractice reciprocals a way to convert to a stock company.  Similar legislation almost made it through the General Assembly last session.

 

WOLF ADMINISTRATION COMMENT PERIOD ON MEDICAID PLAN ENDS

On April 27, the Department of Human Services comment period for the transition from former Governor Corbett’s Healthy PA to an expansion of traditional Medicaid ends.  Details are available at www.dhs.state.pa.us/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_144044.pdf. Comment period was 30 days.

 

HIGHMARK HEARING IN HARRISBURG MAY 4

On May 4, the PA Insurance Department is holding a public hearing in Harrisburg on Highmark’s request to transfer $175 million from its reserves to the Allegheny Health Network.  Persons or groups wishing to present comments are asked to contact the Department by April 30 via pre-registering at www.insurance.pa.gov .  Written comments must be received by David H. Phelps, Financial Analysis Division davphelps@pa.gov or through faxing to 717/787-8557.

 

REGULATORY UPDATES

  • The Insurance Department proposes adding dog bite monoline insurance as a type of coverage with direct access to the Surplus & Excess Lines market and waiving the diligent search requirement (Export List).
  • On April 23, the PA Insurance Department announced that 4,830 PA insurance consumers received $66.8 million in restitution payments or credits through the first quarter of 2015.  These stemmed from enforcement actions relative to: restoration of stolen funds where agents collected premiums but did not remit them to the insurance carrier; where a carrier improperly denied or underpaid an insurance claim; refunding of overcharged insurance premiums; and through agreements with life insurance companies to more diligently seek beneficiaries via the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File.
  • Tokio Millennium Re, AIG, is seeking Department approval as a certified reinsurer.

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