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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email email@example.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.
NAVIGATOR BILL GOES TO GOVERNOR
In a major plus for the PA Association of Health Underwriters and others writing health insurance, the PA Senate concurred with the House and sent Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) to Governor Wolf for his signature. SB 293 mandates that Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) navigators and certified application counselors register with the PA Insurance Department and have individuals working for them undergo criminal background checks
MORE CONFIRMATION NEWS
The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed John Wetzel as Secretary of Corrections, Eileen McNulty as Secretary of Revenue and Dr. Rachel Levine as Physician General. Not approved was Governor Wolf’s nominee for State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown.
BUSY WEEK LEGISLATIVELY
- Senate Bill 396 (Vance-R-Cumberland) passed the Senate 49-0 on June 9 and is now before the House Health Committee. It re-authorizes the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).
- House Resolution 360 designating June 8, 2015 as Mutual Insurance Day was unanimously adopted by the House. Sponsors were Majority Insurance Committee Chair Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford) and Insurance Committee Minority Chair Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny).
- Senate Bill 622 (Mensch-R-Lehigh/Montgomery) was reported out by the House State Government Committee June 9. It removes the requirement that the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee prepare a report for the General Assembly on costs/benefits of required mental health insurance every two years. Cost of the report is estimated at $100,000.
EMS INSURANCE BILLS PASS THE HOUSE
Two bills relating to insurer payment for emergency medical services passed the House June 10 by 188-0 and were referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee June 12. House Bill 347 (O’Neill-R-Bucks) stipulates that the insurer pay for EMS directly if that provider is not part of the insurer’s network. This is an attempt to reduce difficulties in collecting the payment from consumers who utilize medical services, were sent a payment by the insurer but who did not pay the EMS provider. The second bill is House Bill 339 (Barrar-R-Chester/Delaware). HB 339 requires managed care companies to provide reimbursement to emergency medical services providers when services were rendered but a person subsequently declines or does not require transport to a hospital.
WOLF ANNOUNCES CHIP VICTORY
On June 11, Governor Wolf announced that the Federal Government agreed that Pennsylvania CHIP plans will all be in compliance with PPACA rules by July 1, thus ending a threat that children in the CHIP Buy-In plan (for those families not qualifying for the CHIP premium subsidy because their income exceeded the program limits). He also said that Federal penalties for not having compliant CHIP coverage in 2014 and 2015 would not be imposed.
- The House Insurance Committee is convening an informational meeting on House Bill 1178 (Barrar-R-Chester/Delaware) on June 17. HB 1178 limits an insurer’s ability to look back more than 12 months to see if there are irregularities in payments to health care providers. Health insurers maintain that a longer period is necessary since PA law requires prompt payment of uncontested claims and it may take a longer payment history to determine if any of the paid claims are fraudulent.
- On the Senate calendar for second consideration are:
– Senate Bill 861 (White-R-Indiana) says that a person’s auto insurance covers a loaner while the car is being repaired. When the dealer has custody of the customer’s vehicle, the dealership’s policy shall be liable for third party damages and damages to the customer’s automobile up to the personal auto insurance policy limits.
– Senate Bill 747 (Vogel-R-Beaver) requires that the Insurance Commissioner do a study listing amounts of punitive damages paid by the following in the last ten years; 1) physicians 2) long-term care nursing facilities licensed by the Department of Health and 3) personal care homes licensed by the Department of Human Services. It also capped punitive damage awards.
DEPARTMENT ISSUES PER DIEM EXAM FEES
On June 13, the PA Insurance Department listed per diem fees insurers must pay for their financial exams. These range from $502 for an Actuarial assistant to $1,062 for Actuary 2. An Examiner trainee costs $666 per day and an Examination Manager runs $861 per day.
https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol45/45-24/1140.html Market conduct exams range from $564 per day for an Examiner trainee to $912 per day for an Examiner Manager. https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol45/45-24/1141.html
- House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) set August 11 as the date for three Philadelphia special elections:
– John Sabatina’s House seat: He was elected to the PA Senate succeeding Mike Stack who was elected to the position of Lt. Governor. Sabatina is a Democrat.
– House seats of former Democratic Representatives Ron Waters and Michelle Brownlee.
- Candidates have been chosen in two August 4 special elections for the PA House.
– For the CumberlandCounty seat vacated by Glen Grell, Republicans have designated realtor Greg Rothman as their nominee while Democrats nominated retired IBMer Robert ‘Bob’ Charles.
– In DelawareCounty, Democrats have turned to the 2014 nominee against now resigned Joe Hackett, Leanne Krueger-Braneky who will face off against Republican Paul Mullen, President of the Delaware County AFL-CIO and Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES KEY PERSONNEL
Commissioner Teresa Miller announced appointments of key staff. Coming from Geisinger Health Systems to become Insurance Department Chief Counsel is Ed Zych; Former Senior Deputy Attorney General and former American Water Works official Seth Mendelsohn is the new Executive Deputy Insurance Commissioner; Two former officials at HHS’ Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) are now at the PA Insurance Department — Jessica Altman as Chief of Staff and Johanna Fabian-Marks who will focus on PPACA implementation and specifically the possible transition of PA from the federally-facilitated marketplace to a state-based exchange.
AUTO MINUMUMS: Auto minimums of 15/30/5 would be doubled through House Bill 1258, introduced by Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler) and (here is the surprise!) was referred to the House Transportation Committee and not the House Insurance Committee.