LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 4th Issue *** February 2, 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.

 

TREASURER McCORD RESIGNS

In a January 29 letter to Governor Tom Wolf, PA State Treasurer Robert McCord submitted his resignation effective February 12, 2015.  The letter stated “But with my goals at Treasury now achieved and with a new Governor now in office to appoint my successor, it is time for me to return to the private sector where most of my life’s work has been.”  McCord designated Treasury General Counsel to serve in an acting capacity until the Governor nominates his successor.  On January 30, McCord’s attorneys issued a statement saying “Mr. McCord will be pleading guilty to certain federal charges to be filed arising out of his attempts in spring 2014 to raise campaign contributions…by communicating that if they failed to make campaign contributions, he could make it difficult for them to do business with the Commonwealth.  There is no suggestion that Treasurer McCord stole or misused campaign funds.”  The resignation date was moved from February 12 to take effect immediately.

 

SENATE COMMITTEE TO MOVE NAVIGATOR BILL

On Tuesday February 3, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee plans to take up Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) requiring that navigators and “assistors” under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) register with the PA Insurance Department and undergo individual background checks.  A re-introduction from last session’s bill which passed the Senate, SB 293 is the top legislative priority of the PA Association of Health Underwriters.  Seven of the bill’s 17 sponsors are on the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee including Senate President Pro Tempore Scarnati who is an ex-officio member.  The committee has 14 members, including Scarnati.  A link to the bill follows:  https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2015&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=293

 

INSURANCE and HEALTH COMMITTEES MOVE LEGISLATION

On January 26, the House Insurance Committee and the House Health Committee moved legislation having an insurance impact.  First, the Insurance Committee moved House Bill 159 (Kampf-R-Chester), a re-introduction from last session, making it easier for reciprocal exchanges (medical malpractice liability) to convert to stock companies.  It was referred to the House Appropriations Committee which is expected to take it up this coming week.  On January 27, the House Health Committee reported out House Bill 60 (Baker-R-Tioga) to prohibit insurance companies from placing oral anti-cancer medications on a specialty tier (more expensive) or charging a coinsurance payment for the medication.  There were no negative committee votes in either committee action.

 

MORE COMMITTEE WORK

  • The House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee plans an informational meeting February 4 on the findings and recommendations of Governor Corbett’s Long-Term Care Commission.  This Commission was established to examine effectiveness of aging programs, quality of services, as well as (thanks in part to PAHU member Scott Crane who was appointed to the Commission) how to pay for long-term care services.
  • On February 4, the House Insurance Committee is convening an informational session presented by Independence Blue Cross about the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA). 
  • The committee also has on its’ February 4 agenda House Bill 147 (Maloney-R-Berks), a property tax reduction bill which will be re-referred to another committee.
  • The House State Government Committee meets February 4 for a briefing on how the regulatory process works in PA conducted by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
  • LEG REG Review did not properly identify all of the new members of the House Insurance Committee in its last issue.  They are Representatives Kevin Boyle and Michael Driscoll, both Democrats representing Philadelphia. (Thanks to Alan Cohn for spotting the error.)

 

FEDERAL POVERTY LEVELS FOR 2015

On January 22, the Federal Register published Federal Poverty Guidelines.  Add $4,060 for each additional person for families with over eight individuals.

 

Persons    Poverty Guideline

1                   $11,670

2                  $15,730

3                  $19,790

4                  $23,850

5                  $27,910

6                  $31,970

7                  $36,030

8                  $40,090

 

FLOOD WEBINAR SCHEDULE POSTED

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has two free no CE, webinars for insurance agents in that market offered February 4 and 5, both 10:00 a.m. to noon.  Details: webinars@h2opartnersusa.com

 

POLITICS

  • On January 22, Philadelphia’s Democratic Ward leader picked Rep. John Sabatina Jr. as the Democratic candidate to fill a Senate vacancy left by new Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.  The special election for the Senate race coincides with the May primary election.  If successful, Sabatino’s ascension to the Senate means that there will be a vacancy in the position of Minority Chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
  • Former Senators come back.  Former Senator Tim Solobay (D-Washington) was named Fire Commissioner by Gov. Wolf.  Solobay’s tenure as a legislator was marked by his fierce advocacy on behalf of volunteer fire fighters.  Announced January 28, former Senator Sean Logan (D-Allegheny) was named Chair of the Turnpike Commission. 

 

REGULATORY UPDATES

  • Published in the January 31 PA Bulletin is a list of eligible surplus lines insurers.     https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol45/45-5/174.html
  • Notice 20125-01 by the PA Insurance Department provides for an expedited filing review process for PA insurers as a result of congressional passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015 (TRIPRA).  Details: Michael McKenney 717/705-0166 or email to mmckenney@pa.gov
  • Also in the January 31 PA Bulletin was Executive Order 2014-05 by former Governor Corbett rescinding three previously issued Executive Orders.  Orders establishing the Office of Health Care Reform (2003) and the Commonwealth Health Care Reform Implementation Committee (2010) were rescinded because those duties were absorbed into work done by other state agencies.  The 2011 Order created the PA eHealth Collaborative (medical test results data base), rendered moot because of Act 121 of 2012.

 

I DAY UPDATES: May 7 is Central PA I-Day in Camp Hill.  Details: https://www.centralpaiday.com/  … The 2015 Philly I-Day sponsored by the Insurance Society of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia CPCU Society is set for April 9.  Details: www.phillyiday.com

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