LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 1st Issue – January 11, 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 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.

 

RETIREMENTS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The 2016 electoral season is upon us in Pennsylvania with nominating petitions being circulated starting at month’s end and ending in mid-February.  This also marks the start of retirement announcements by long-term members of the PA General Assembly.  Some notable decisions not to run so far:

  • Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware), Majority Chair, House Appropriations Committee
  • Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne), House Majority Caucus Chair
  • Rep. John Payne (R-Dauphin), Majority Chair, House Gaming Oversight Committee
  • Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Northampton), Majority Chair, House Professional Licensure Committee
  • Rep. Peter Daley (D-Fayette), Minority Chair, House Consumer Affairs Committee
  • Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Phila.), former Minority Chair, House Appropriations Committee, is running for Congress in the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Chaka Fattah.  Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila.) is also running in that primary but he has not said that he is not running for re-election to his seat in the PA House of Representatives.

 

SPECIAL ELECTIONS SET for SENATE & HOUSE VACANCIES

Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester/Delaware) was elected to a judgeship in November.  The special election for his seat was set for April 26 by Lt. Governor Mike Stack, the same date as the primary.  Whoever wins the special election will fill out the remainder of Pileggi’s term until November 30, 2016.  The fall general election will decide who holds that seat for the next four years.  State Rep. Tom Killion (R-Delaware) received the Republican Party nomination in this special election.

 

On the House side, Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) set March 15 as the date for three special elections.  Those elected will fill out the terms of their predecessors which end November 30, 2016.  The regular primary will set the contests for the fall general election for full two-year terms.  The three former Representatives are:

  • Tim Krieger (R-Westmoreland) who was elected to a judgeship in November
  • Cherelle Parker (D-Phila.) who was elected to the Philadelphia City Council in November
  • Louise Bishop (D-Phila.) who resigned in December

There is one legislative seat which is uncertain.  Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D-Chester) was elected mayor of Chester City in November but has opted to also keep his House seat at least for now.

 

INSURANCE DEPARTMENT: ADDITIONAL STAFF CHANGES

The PA Insurance Department is seeing additional staff transition in 2016.  In addition to a number of high-level departures such as former Deputy Commissioners Randy Rohrbaugh, Steve Johnson and licensing/enforcement director Jack Yanosky, Chief Counsel Ed Zych is leaving.  Before coming to the Insurance Department in June 2015, he served Geisinger Health System as its Chief Legal Officer.  Appointed as Acting General Counsel is Department legal veteran Amy Daubert.  Other staff changes include the retirement of Insurance Department Director of the Bureau of Financial Exams Annette Szady and the selection of Deputy Commissioner Joe DiMemmo to replace Steve Johnson.  DiMemmo has 36-years of Commonwealth service and oversaw the Liquidations Office prior to being named as the top insurance company solvency regulator.

 

 

REGULATORY UPDATE

  • The PA Insurance Department issued a list of jurisdictions deemed qualified for purposes of certified reinsurer status.  https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol46/46-2/59.html
  • PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) meets January 14 in Harrisburg.  Details: Renee Greenawalt 717-232-6787
  • Insurance agents and policyholders for Regis Insurance Company must submit claims by June 27, 2016.  Regis, headquartered in Chesterbrook, PA, was forced into liquidation by Commonwealth Court.  The property/casualty carrier had not placed new business since 2013.  Questions? 717-783-7823

 

SENATOR WAGNER ANNOUNCES SAVE MONEY WEB SITE

Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) announced January 8 that he has a website designed to solicit input from Pennsylvanians as to how state spending may be reduced so as to eliminate the need for state tax increases.  In addition to using https://www.senatorscottwagner.com/SavePA/  , the SavePA website, taxpayers can submit their ideas via Twitter or Facebook using the hash tag #SavePA, tagging @SenScottWagner on Twitter or leaving a comment on Facebook at Senator Scott Wagner.

 

ON THE FEDERAL SIDE…

  • The IRS issued Notice 2016-4, ‘Extension of the Due Dates for 2015 Information reporting under IRC 6055 and 6056’ to extend due dates for 2015 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to March 31, 2016.  Due dates for Forms 1094-B and 1094-C are now May 31, 2016 (if not filing electronically) and June 30, 2016 if filing electronically.
  • Medical Loss Ratio rebates under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for Pennsylvania totals $5.2 million to 90,485 policyholders.  These rebates are mandated if a health insurance carrier does not spend 80 or 85 percent of its premium revenue (depending on the size of the group) on claims.
  • CMS announced new PPACA SHOP (small business exchange) Marketplace features for 2016 including an on-line renewal without filling out a new application and including all employees having health insurance — even if elsewhere– to make meeting the participation requirement easier to obtain.  Details: 800-706-7893
  • CMS scheduled a webinar for January 14 starting at 3:30 p.m. to share results of a Robert Woods Foundation – funded study on attitudes of small employers on the SHOP (small business exchange) Marketplace.  To register, please access https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1082974244962682114

 

CROP INSURANCE COMMENT from U.S. HOUSE AG CHAIR

In response to a question voiced at a special farm forum January 9 at the 100th PA Farm Show, U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Chair K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) said that Crop Insurance had survived a legislative assault during the recent Omnibus Budget Bill but that the same challenges exist for 2016 when Congress again looks at appropriations and yet again in 2018 when a new Farm Bill is crafted.  He also said that specialty commodities not covered by Crop Insurance such as Christmas Trees should look to the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) rather than to Congress.  This event was convened by the House Agriculture Committee and was facilitated by PA Rep. Glen Thompson (R-5) who is a member of that committee.  Other PA U.S. Representatives hearing concerns at this forum were GOP Reps. Barletta, Costello, Kelly, and Marino.

 

UPCOMING… Despite being a slow meeting week, there is one of interest to those in the liability insurance market.  On January 14, the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on House Bill 1428 (Kampf-R-Chester/Montgomery).  The bill addresses the issue of asbestos lawsuits being filed against businesses which are actually remote from the asbestos exposure that may have taken place.  It does two things.  First, it includes asbestos cases under the Fair Share Act which limits liability to secondary parties as well as a full disclosure by the plaintiff as to whether or not he/she has filed similar lawsuits in the past.

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