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.
REINSURANCE BILLS MOVE THROUGH COMMITTEE
The House Insurance Committee considered two company reinsurance bills June 12, Senate Bill 1464 (D. White-R-Indiana) and House Bill 2437 (Micozzie-R-Delaware). SB 1464 was amended in the Senate to include the language from SB 1524. SB 1464 brings PA into alignment with the NAIC model law creating a new classification of “certified” reinsurers. It also provides for Department group-wide supervision of internationally active multi-jurisdictional insurance groups.
eHEALTH BILL MOVES TO HOUSE
Senate Bill 8 (Folmer-R-Lebanon) passed the Senate June 12. It creates a new entity called the PA eHealth Partnership to govern over the establishment and maintenance of an electronic data base containing medical and test results so that doctors might be less inclined to provide their own testing when the patient may have had the same test performed recently by another health care provider. The idea received impetus from Washington with the passage of the Stimulus Package (ARRA) but got bagged down in the Rendell Administration because of future solvency after the ARRA money ran out. SB 8 funding would come from user and transaction fees as well as Federal money.
There is already another piece of legislation (HB 863) sponsored by Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) seeking to do something similar. Pahinski bill HB 2106 from the 2009-2010 session had passed the House. The Corbett Administration version of this concept is called eHealth Collaborative. SB 8 does include a health insurance carrier representative on the governing body of the eHealth Partnership.
AGING COMMITTEES TO HEAR STATE PLAN on AGING
On June 20 the House Older Adult Services Committee and the Senate Aging & Youth Committee to discuss Pennsylvania’s Draft Plan on Aging mandated by the Federal Government for departments of aging to demonstrate their approaches and strategies in meeting seniors’ needs. Testifying will be Secretary of Aging Brian Duke. The state must update its State Plan on Aging every four years.
In addition to this informational meeting in Harrisburg, the Department of Aging plans for two more public hearings on the Draft Plan. They will be June 25 at the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Research Building and June 28 at the University of Pittsburgh William Pitt Union. Insurance agents and PAHU may be advocating greater inclusion of agents specializing in the senior products market in the APPRISE program and other consumer outreach activities sponsored by the Aging Department. Details on testifying are available from Brittany Bendigo 717/425-5719. Written comments should be addressed to David Gingerich, Acting Deputy Secretary of Aging, 555 Walnut St., 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Comments must be received by June 29. To read the Draft Plan, go to http://www.aging.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_aging_home/18206
CORBETT SIGNS UC BILL INTO LAW
Governor Corbett signed Senate Bill 1310 (Gordner-R-Columbia) into law as act 60 of 2012. The law refinances a debt to the Federal Government of $3.87 billion so as to save over $170 million in interest that would have been added to the tab if the original obligation to the Feds had continued. The bond is to be paid off by 2019.
Three bills relevant to dentists and dental insurance saw legislative action.
- House Bill 532 (Saylor-R-York) passed the House. It mandates group and individual health insurance policies to cover general anesthesia and associated costs for children seven or younger and for those developmentally disabled.
- Senate Bill 1144 (Ward-R-Westmoreland)) was reported out of the House Insurance Committee. It would prohibit insurers from setting fee schedules for non-covered services such as teeth-whitening. Dental insurers consider this bill as one which reduces the amount of non-covered dental services people would utilize. The bill is on the House calendar. Its companion is HB 1537 (Murt-R-Montgomery)
- A bill requiring dentists to carry medical malpractice insurance passed the House and was sent to Governor Corbett for his signature. Senate Bill 388 is sponsored by Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland). PA Dental Association supported the legislation.
POLITICAL NOTE…Republican Representative Randy Vulakovich (R-Westmoreland) was selected by Republican Committee officials as their nominee to finish the term of Jane Orie who had to resign her seat because of her conviction on misusing taxpayer dollars to fund political activities. He will face off against Democratic nominee Sharon Brown in the August 7 special election.
OTHER LEGISLATIVE NEWS
- The Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approved House Bill 1908 (Micozzie-R-Delaware) towing reform legislation.
- Tax reform House Bill 1776 (Cox-R-Berks) was tabled in the House Finance Committee June 11. Earlier, on June 4, the House Finance Committee convened a hearing on HB 1776. It would eliminate many exemptions from the state’s sales and use tax in order to fund an elimination of the school property tax. The legislation would also increase the sales tax from six to seven percent. PAHU submitted written comments opposing the bill’s sales tax reach to insurance agent fees. The vote to table was 13 to 11 with 9 Republicans voting to table and five opposed. Four Democrats voted to table and six were opposed.
- The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee that had been scheduled for June 13 was cancelled.
PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES is planning two summer CE blitzes. First is a compliance blitz where lobbyist Vince Phillips will join with former Insurance Department Counsel Christopher Knight, now with the law firm of Hawke, McKeon, & Sniscak LLP to discuss Insurance Department compliance issues for insurers and producers. Second will be a blitz across the state to help insurance producers better understand the upcoming US Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act. Details will be announced for both.