LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 17th Issue — October 03rd, 2016

LEG REG REVIEW

2016, 17th Issue *** October 3, 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 

 

LONG-STANDING PROVIDER-INSURER ISSUE NEARS RESOLUTION

A long-standing dispute between health care providers and health insurers is closer to resolution with the September 28 unanimous House passage of House Bill 2241.  Sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna//Luzerne/Wyoming), the legislation limits insurers’ ability to look back to monies paid to health care providers to 24 months.  Providers and particularly chiropractors have complained that look-back periods should be limited since a longer analysis could financial ruin the provider if a longer period was used by the insurer in assessing whether the insurer payment was overpaid and subject to repayment to the health care provider.  It was referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

 

SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE MOVES BILLS

On September 27, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee reported out insurance bills.  The first bill (Senate Bill 1331 (Reschenthaler-R-Allegheny) allows unlicensed retail employees of travel agencies to sell travel insurance providing that their employer has the new limited license.  The second bill was House Bill 1403 (Quinn-R-Bucks).  This mandates that life insurance companies be more diligent in locating beneficiaries through use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File.  Numbers of life insurers have already adopted this procedure thanks to regulator pressure but HB 1403 makes it mandatory.

 

A third bill reported out by the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee was House Bill 946 (Baker-R-Potter/Tioga/Bradford) regarding pharmacy audits.  It extends the Insurance Department’s authority to regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers.

 

A SAMPLER OF LEGISLATIVE RESPONSES TO THE OPIOID CRISIS

On September 28, at a joint session of the House and Senate listened to Governor Tom Wolf addressed the opioid/heroin crisis in Pennsylvania and urged prompt action by the General Assembly.  There has already been significant action including at least one that directly impacts the insurance industry.  House Bill 1698 (Heffley-R-Carbon) requires that health insurance companies include coverage for abuse-deterrent opioids (harder to snort or grind into powder, etc.).  NOTE: The Insurance Federation of PA reports that Governors in New Jersey and New York have vetoed similar legislation in their states.   HB 1698 passed the House 190-3 June 23 and was referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.  Senate Bill 1202 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) mandates training for licensed medicine dispensers and prescribers to receive two hours of continuing education in pain management or in the prescribing practices of opioids.  This seeks to address of prescribing opioids too frequently and almost automatically for pain treatment.  It passed the Senate 49-0 on June 15 and was referred to the House Professional Licensure Committee.  A similar bill, Senate Bill 1368 (Killion-R-Delaware) passed the Senate September 28 by a 49-0 vote.

 

Of interest to many will be an upcoming October 19 House Human Services Committee hearing on what to do when a loved one has addiction problems. Details: Chair Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) 717-7319 or Executive Director Melanie Brown mebrown@pahousegop.com

 

 

 

CONSIDERATION OF NEW INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

The General Assembly has also been looking at other legislation which include insurance provisions.  These affect specific industries and commercial situations and did not come through either the House Insurance Committee or the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.  Senate Bill 344 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) updates security provisions for municipal contracting to include performance bonds and payment bonds equal to the value of the contract.  It passed the Senate 50-0 on September 28…Senate Bill 703 (McGarrigle-R-Delaware/Chester) requires licensing for plumbing contractors and includes a $500,000 liability insurance certificate as a requirement to be a master plumber.  It passed the Senate last summer and is now in the House Labor & Industry Committee.  In the same committee is a similar bill, House Bill 1357, which had a committee hearing in February 2016…Home inspectors’ licensing received attention at a September 21 hearing of the House Professional Licensure Committee.  House Bill 1421 (Helm-R-Dauphin) requires $500,000 of liability insurance for house inspectors per occurrence with a deductible of up to $2,500.00.

 

REGULATORY UPDATES

·         Mutual Insurance Company of Lehigh County and the Clearfield County Grange Mutual Insurance Company filed an application with the PA Insurance Department to merge.  Also included in that request was a request to the Department to approve conversions from Mutual to stock.

  • PA Surplus Lines Association (PSLA) released a schedule for training surplus lines licensees on how to submit affidavits to PSLA over the Internet. Procedures and Electronic Filing User Manual instructions are found at https://pasla.org/training_workshops.htm .  Workshops are scheduled for October 11 and 27, November 8 and 29, and December 15 and 29, 2016.
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a schedule of informational Webinars for insurance producers as follows: October 11, SHOP Guidance for Agents and Brokers; October 12, 19, 26 Plan Year Open Enrollment: A Primer for Agents and Brokers Participating in the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (Exchanges); and October 28 Plan Year 2017 Exchange Registration and training for Agents and Brokers.  Details: https://www.REGTAPi.nfo.
  • On November 17, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) will hold a public meeting to consider Insurance Department Regulation #11-254 Annual Financial Reporting Requirements. As of September 30, there were no public comments or legislative comments on this Rule.
  • On September 21, Governor Wolf announced the formal nomination of Patrick McDonnell to the position of Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He is currently in an acting capacity in that position.

INSURANCE DEPARTMENT ISSUES NEW ANNUITIES GUIDE

Commissioner Teresa Miller announced publication of a new guide for consumers considering the purchase of annuities, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Annuities”.   According to Miller, the guide includes caveats on surrender charges and warns consumers to decide whether they can afford to keep their money in an annuity for the entire surrender charge period (which may be five or ten years).  This publication was produced in conjunction with AARP.

 

UBER, LYFT AUTHORITY SUNSETS IN PHILADELPHIA

Philly.com reports that as of October 1st, ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber will not have legislative authority to operate in Philadelphia due to the sunset of legislation enacted to allow these companies to operate during the August Democratic National Convention.  Legislative passage may be difficult given that only six session days remain.  It is uncertain at this point as to whether the Philadelphia Parking Authority will initiate enforcement action to wait to see if additional legislation is forthcoming.

 

REMINDER: OCTOBER 11 IS THE LAST DAY A PERSON CAN REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.

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