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) or Manufacturers Association of South Central PA (MASCPA). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/728-1164 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email email@example.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from this list.
CLASS FLUNKS FISCAL GRADE
HHS finally pulled the plug on the implementation of an important part of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with its decision to freeze the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Service and Supports). The decision evolved from a realization that the finances would simply not be there to sustain it consistent with PPACA’s requirement that it be able to pay its own way. CLASS was an employer based program with mandatory enrollment by workers unless they opted out. Given the five-year vesting period (paying premiums in and not being able to claim) and probable adverse selection, the finances simply did not add up. CLASS was required by PPACA to be self-sustaining. CAUTIONARY NOTE: The legal authorization for CLASS under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act remains intact which means that the Obama Administration, if it chooses, could renew the implementation process.
INSURANCE COMMITTEE PLANS TOWING VOTE
On October 26, the House Insurance Committee plans a vote on House Bill 1908 (Micozzie-R-Delaware), a measure providing consumer protection to the owner of a vehicle if a tow truck is called or if a tow truck is directed by police to move a damaged or disabled vehicle after an accident. The bill was only introduced last week.
MORE COMMITTEE WORK
- Two additional House Insurance Committee hearings focused on the UPMC-Highmark contract dispute. The hearings heard officials from the Department of Health October 18 and the Office of the Attorney General on October 19.
- The Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee meets October 26 for a hearing on western PA’s health care delivery system.
- The Senate Transportation Committee moved House Bill 563 (Geist-R-Blair), a measure that provides a liability exemption to property owners whose property is used for the conducting of motorcycle safety education.
- Moving through the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee was Senate Bill 628, a licensing bill governing those practicing acupuncture. Of note is that the description of the bill says that it includes a provision on liability insurance. Actually, the amendment does not change the amount which remains one million dollars per occurrence or claims made.
- On October 25, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee will take up House Bill 424 (Godshall-R-Montgomery) which amends the adjuster licensing law.
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED re HIGHMARK v. UPMC
Bills have been introduced regarding the Highmark/UPMC contract dispute. Given the number of House and Senate hearings, expect additional legislation. House Bill 1910 (Frankel-D-Allegheny) mandates binding arbitration and House Bill 32 (DeLuca-D-Allegheny) expands Insurance Department powers relative to such a dispute by requiring that a hospital plan corporation provide 90 days notice before a contract expires. The Department would convene a hearing to determine if “the pending expiration is in the public interest” and would have the authority to stay the termination for a period to allow negotiations to continue.
- ACE American Insurance Company is seeking Insurance Department permission to acquire Penn Millers Insurance Company and American Millers Insurance Company, both domiciled in PA.
- General Title Insurance Company is seeking to acquire Manito Title Insurance Company, a PA-based title insurance company.
- Patient Safety Authority will meet in Harrisburg October 25. details; 717/346-0469
NAHU is moving its offices from Virginia to Washington, DC. The office will be closed October 28 and re-open October 31. The NAHU website will also be down during that time, and NAHU staff e-mails will be unavailable. The new contact information for NAHU’s national office is:
1212 New York Avenue, NW, Ste. 1100
Washington DC 20005
In addition, dates have been set for the 2012 National Association of Health Underwriters Capitol Conference in Washington. The conference is set for January 22-25 and the registration period has begun. (www.nahu.org )
- As of Sunday October 23, Governor Corbett had not yet signed House Bill 9 (Watson-R-Bucks). This legislation prevents junior drivers under 18 from having more than one passenger in the car outside of family for their first six months behind the wheel, requires drivers under 18 to wear seat belts, and increases the training requirement from 50 to 65 hours including ten hours of night driving. The legislation also prohibits under 18 drivers from driving between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a spouse 18 or over, or made necessary by employment or serving as a volunteer fire fighter.
- Anti-texting Senate Bill 314 (Tomlinson-R-Bucks) moved through the House Transportation Committee and could be voted on this week by the full House. Since it was amended, it would still need to go back to the Senate for concurrence. The bill does not ban use of cell phones nor does it include the dialing of a cell phone in the definition of texting. In addition, SB 314 specifically precludes confiscation of a mobile phone if texting is observed by law enforcement. So far, in its legislative journey, the bill has been amended six times.
- Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre) said that he plans to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations from the Governor’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission. Among other things, the recommendations include increasing driver permit fees and lifting a cap on state-imposed taxes per gallon of gasoline.
CROP INSURANCE CONFERENCE AT PDA
The 12th Annual Crop Insurance Conference takes place at the Farm Show complex October 25. It will include presentations on the upcoming Farm Bill, specific farmer concerns on Crop Insurance and an analysis of Dairy in Pennsylvania. The conference is approved for seven CE credits. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org