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 email@example.com. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from this list.
ADJUSTER BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR
House Bill 424 (Godshall-R-Montgomery) passed the House on March 26 with a concurrence vote on Senate amendments. This public adjuster reform legislation went to Governor Corbett for his signature. Among other things, HB 424 increases disclosures by public adjusters to consumers and notification to insurance companies that a public adjuster has been retained by a consumer.
ANTI-PPACA BILLS SEE MOVEMENT
Two Pennsylvania bills attacking the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are seeing movement. The first was Senate Bill 10 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) which amends the PA Constitution to prohibit a health insurance individual mandate. On March 28, the Senate passed it along party lines with Republicans voting ‘aye’. If it also passes the House this year, it must be reintroduced and passed by the General Assembly in the 2013-14 session and then face the voters in a referendum before the Constitution is amended.
On the House side, the State Government Committee is slated to take up House Resolution 49 (Swanger-R-Lebanon) on April 3. It is much broader in scope in that it does not specifically reference PPACA. Rather, it aims at what it terms as a usurpation of states’ rights by the Federal Government by imposing mandates or requiring states to pass certain legislation or lose Federal funding. Of note is that five Democrats joined 32 Republicans in sponsoring this legislation.
- The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee plans to meet April 3 to consider two bills. First is legislation prohibiting insurers from setting fees for non-covered insurance services (Senate Bill 1144 sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward-R-Westmoreland).
Second is Senate Bill 1464 (D. White-R-Indiana) which “provides for group-wide supervision of internationally active multi-jurisdictional insurance groups.” It addresses processes and procedures re acquisition or control or merger or consolidation with a domestic insurer.
- It is rumored that the House Insurance Committee may meet on April 4 to discuss a number of bills concerning dental insurance.
- The Senate Communications & Technology Committee will meet April 3 to consider the PA Health Information Partnership Authority to allow for an electronic means for health care providers to research previous medical treatment without exposing themselves to civil liability. Senate Bill 8 (Folmer-R-Lebanon) also has strong language in it requiring permission by a patient for these records to be accessed.
- The PA Health Cost Containment Council (PHC4) issued its annual report on studies it has undertaken and by whom. There were 69 special reports and requests for data from sources as varied as the Akron’s Children’s Hospital to Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation. Government agencies and media also accounted for a number of the requests. Details: PA Bulletin March 24, 2012 www.pabulletin.com
- The Title Insurance Rating Bureau has requested a seven percent average increase which, if approved by the Insurance Department, will be effective June 1, 2012.
- March 21 was the effective date of Act 134, the new law giving the PA Insurance Department the authority to review and approve health insurer rate increases of ten percent or more.
ABORTION FUND UPDATE
The last issue of Leg Reg Review pointed to a new controversy about PPACA, whether the new Exchange Rule forced all insurance enrollees to pay $1.00 per day into a special fund that would be used to pay for abortions. Thanks to a reader, the actual cite is section 1303 of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act. When you link, note that the section begins on page 83 of the 974 page document. It states that a qualified health plan with abortion coverage will have an Allocation Account. This will be funded by a separate payment from each enrollee “equal to the portion of the premium to be paid directly by the enrollee for “ this coverage.
DEPARTMENT OF AGING DECIDES NO ON PLAN HEARINGS
The PA Department of Aging which has the responsibility to update a State Plan on meeting older adult service needs has chosen not to have hearings in developing the Plan. Rather, the Administration has opted for Focus Groups which will meet through May 2012 consisting of “subject matter experts, service partners, legislators, consumers and the public (who) will be asked to provide input.” Access points follow:
Link from the Department’s home page: www.aging.state.pa.us
Comments submitted by calling 717-783-1550
I DAY SEASON IN HIGH GEAR
Several I Days are coming up soon. They are:
- Reading I Day in Wyomissing April 12 — 610/780-6091
- Pittsburgh I Day April 26 —- 412/489-5626
- Central PA I Day in Camp Hill May 2 —- email@example.com
AGENCIES UPDATE PPACA FAQs ON SBCs
The Departments of Labor & HHS have updated their Frequently Asked Questions on the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act to include the provisions regarding the Summary of Benefit and Coverage or SBC following the publishing of the final rule. http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-aca8.html
For a link to a sample, please visit www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/SBCSampleCompleted.pdf or http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/files/Files2/02102012/sample-completed-sbcfinal.pdf.pdf.
- Rep. Tony Payton (D-Phila.) appears to have lost his primary standing due to a petition challenge.
A list of all primary candidates for General Assembly may be found using the Department of State link, http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_state/12405