LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 15th Issue — August 22nd, 2016

 

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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com 

 

NEW HOUSE MEMBER SWORN IN

On August 17, Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) was sworn in as the newest member of the PA House of Representatives.  As this was a special election to fill a vacancy, he will have to succeed in the November general election in order to secure a full two-year term. Rep. Quinn has an insurance producer’s license.

 

POLITICAL UPDATES

  • Two incumbent Democratic members of the General Assembly decided not to seek re-election.  Senator John Wozniak (D-Cambria) has been a Senator since 1996. State Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York) was elected in 2013 to the PA House.  Both will serve until the end of the current legislative session November 30.
  • Given the resignation of Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fattah, the special election to fill that vacancy will take place on November 8, the same date as the general election.  Favored to win is State Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Phila.).

 

WC HEARING SET

Although it is a ways out, the House Labor & Industry Committee is holding a September 13 hearing on House Bill 1141 (Saylor-R-York) which includes a number of amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act.  The bill will mandate insurers to accept electronic billing by January 1, 2017, attempting to reduce costs and increasing the timely processing of transactions between providers and insurers. Per Rep. Saylor’s sponsorship memo, HB 1141:

  • Imposes financial penalties on insurers and their third party administrators (TPA’s) who fail to implement the updated Workers’ Compensation fee schedule by January 10 of each year
  • Imposes financial penalties on insurers who fail to pay claims within 30 days of receipt
  • Eliminates the practice of “silent discounting” by requiring the establishment of a bona fide provider network agreement between physicians/insurers/employers and third parties and requiring that physicians receive notice when such a contractual agreement is made between an insurer/employer and a third party.
  • Prohibits insurers and their agents from using threats or coercion in their solicitations for discounted reimbursements.  (NOTE:  The word ‘agents’ does not mean insurance agents.)
  • Allows providers access to relevant and appropriate claim information (i.e. the description of injury for which the insurer has accepted liability)

OPIOID HEARING SET FOR AUGUST 31

Another joint hearing of the House Republican Policy Committee and the House Democratic Policy Committee is set for August 31 at Hilton Scranton & Conference Center focusing on prescriptions and the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

LEGISLATION TO NOTE

  • House Bill 871 (Sankey-R-Cambria/Clearfield) was signed into law as Act 91 of 2016 by Governor Tom Wolf.  It addresses the situation of a totaled vehicle where the insurer is unable to secure a properly endorsed certificate of title within 30 days of a claims settlement.
  • House Bill 1403 (Quinn-R-Bucks) requires that life insurers utilize the Social Security Administration’s Master Death File to better locate beneficiaries for unclaimed life insurance benefits.  It was referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee after House 175-0 passage before the summer legislative recess.
  • Also referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee was House Bill 1698 (Heffley-R-Carbon) after a 190-3 House vote before recess.  HB 1698 says that health insurance companies must show payment parity between traditional opioid medications and those which are abuse-resistant (harder to crush, cut, dissolve or inject).
  • Introduced are:
  • House Bill 2242 (Baker-R-Tioga) mandating insurance coverage for Lyme Disease.
  • House Bill 2173 (Murt-R-Montgomery) requires that the Insurance Department implement and enforce provisions of the federal Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
  • Senate Resolution 411 (Folmer-R-Lebanon) urging the US Congress to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. NOTE:  This is the Depression Era law that set up firewalls between banks, insurance and securities.  The prime sponsor’s chief of staff said to LEG REG Review that the intent of SR 411 was not to restore barriers against banks selling insurance and vice-versa.  Rather, it seeks to address improper investment practices by large financial institutions and holding companies.
  • House Bill 2241 (Boback-R-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Wyoming) would prevent insurance carriers from going back more than 24 months in demanding repayment of overpaid claims to health care providers.

 

MARYLAND CONTINUES INSURANCE TOWN HALLS

The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) is continuing its outreach to gather opinions, questions and concerns about the recent changes in Maryland’s regulation of the property/casualty market. Specifically invited are businesses, consumers, AND insurance producers.  Scheduled are Town Halls in Rockville September 7, Hagerstown September 14, Cockeysville September 20, LaPlata (Charles County) October 4 and Easton October 25.  Details: Nick Cavey nick.cavey@maryland.gov and Nancy Egan at nancy.egan@maryland.gov .

 

REGULATORY UPDATES

  • August 26 is the last date to submit comments to the PA Insurance Department on its Notice 2016-09 reducing the mandatory inflation coverage for Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policies from the present three percent to one percent.  This is supported by the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) since it should reduce premiums for this product.  Submissions to ra-rateform@pa.gov
  • BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Company organized under the laws of West Virginia has filed an application to acquire HM Casualty Insurance Company.
  • The Department has received applications to:
  • Re-domesticate from PA to Illinois (AIG Assurance Company)
  • Re-domesticate from PA to Illinois (Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania)

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