LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 37th Issue November 27, 2017

CHIP RENEWAL ONE STEP CLOSER On November 20, the House voted 194-0 to send House Bill 1388 (Irvin-R-Mifflin/Centre/Huntingdon) back to the Senate for concurrence.  The measure would extend the life of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) until December 31, 2019, or ninety days after Federal funding for CHIP is no longer available.  What makes the issue more complicated is that the Senate added language partially reversing Governor Wolf’s addition of transgender transition to eligible CHIP coverage.  The House used a maneuver to revert to a prior Printer’s Number.  What this means is that HB 1388 went back to its original language without the transgender benefit restriction.  When the Senate returns to Harrisburg, it will have to decide which version it really wants since, without reauthorization, the CHIP will lose its ability to function after December 31, 2017.   LEGISLATIVE NOTES The focus of the House this past week was on whether or not there should be a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction.  By week’s end, the PA House had only gone through slightly over a tenth of the 200-plus amendments.  Nonetheless, in addition to HB 1388 described above, there were still other legislative items of possible interest. … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 36th Issue November 20, 2017

Dear Reader: Of all the holidays, I am especially drawn to Thanksgiving.  It is unheralded but sincere.  It is a statement of giving rather than receiving.  It is a time to appreciate the blessings bestowed upon us and also a time to think about the most important things – our family, our friends, and our faith.  I am writing to simply tell you that I appreciate you as subscribers who share an interest in knowing what’s going on and also as friends.  Thank you sincerely and Happy Thanksgiving. Vince Phillips **********************  INSURANCE INCENTIVE LEGISLATION MOVES THROUGH SENATE On November 13, the PA Senate passed two bills which change Pennsylvania insurance law to allow insurance companies and insurance producers to offer inducements and rebates to consumers.  Sponsored by Senate Banking & Insurance Committee Chair Don White (R-Indiana), Senate Bills 877 and 878 reflect a change from long-standing PA laws such as the Unfair Insurance Practices Act (Act 205) which expressly prohibited the practice although the Insurance Department allows for minor gifts (“de minimus”).   A concern expressed over time has been the lack of clarity as to what “de minimus” means.  The limit to rebates and inducements in SB 877 and … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 35th Issue November 7th, 2017

LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS BY GOVERNOR WOLF On October 30, Governor Wolf signed several budget bills into law.  This update was sent out to GPAHU members last week.  That information is available on the GPAHU website.  Look for LEG REG Review 2017, 34th issue for particulars. Of particular concern is a provision in Act 44 (House Bill 674) where the General Assembly relinquished its authority in allowing the Governor to decide out of which dedicated funds $300 million could come.  One of these funds supplies general government operations for the PA Insurance Department. The Governor’s pen was also busy in signing Senate Bill 181 (Mensch-R-Montgomery/Berks/Bucks) into law as Act 48 of 2017.  It forces agencies to change their budgeting requests from incrementally adding to existing budgets to performance-based budgeting where there is no safe haven for existing budget questions and possible cuts. Vetoed was House Bill 59 which would have added a work search requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.   WC PREMIUM INCREASE DELAYED A 6.06%increase in Workers’ Compensation premiums that would have taken effect November 1 is delayed according to the October 30 Central Penn Business Journal because of a challenge from the PA Association for Justice (trial lawyers). Details were … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 34th Issue October 30, 2017

  SENATE BANKING & INSURANCE COMMITTEE HOLDS Rx PRICE HEARING On October 23, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee convened a prescription drug price transparency hearing relative to Senate Bill 637 (White-R-Indiana).  It presented starkly contrasting views between the pharmaceutical industry which maintained that manufacturing price increases are quite reasonable versus insurers and prescription benefit managers (PBMs) which pointed accusing fingers at the drug industry for unwarranted increases.  The insurer panel included representatives from Independence Blue Cross, Highmark, and Capital Blue Cross as well as the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.   PA’s Independence Blue Cross cited examples of dramatic increases in recent drug pricing from 2012 to 2016: The average wholesale price per patient prescription has increased 24%. Total costs of prescription claims paid out by Independence Blue Cross jumped 40% from $806 million in 2012 to $1.1 billion in 2016. Average cost of brand-name specialty drugs are sixty times the amount spent on generic drugs accounting for 60% of drug claim costs for Independent even though these specialty drugs only accounted for 2.1% of utilization.   Also testifying was PA State Grange lobbyist and former PAHU lobbyist Vince Phillips who said that transparency in pricing could give insurance companies the … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 33rd Issue October 23, 2017

DISPUTED CHIP BILL MOVES THROUGH SENATE BANKING & INSURANCE COMMITTEE On October 18, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee reported out House Bill 1388 (Irvin-R-Huntington) with one dissenting vote, that of Senator Larry Farnese (D-Phila.).  The sparks occurred earlier in the meeting when a party line vote (Republicans voting yes), approved an amendment to prohibit CHIP monies to go for transgender services was adopted.  Democrats and especially Senator Farnese contended that the amendment was discriminatory and suggested that recent legal action in Texas did not suspend the anti-discriminations of the Affordable Care Act.  The bill’s main focus was reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019.   The committee also approved two bills allowing for rebates and inducements not to exceed $100.  This is a major change in insurance law which traditionally prohibited rebates and inducements except for those with minimal value.  Senate Bills 877 and 878 are sponsored by Majority Chair Don White (R-Indiana).   HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE MOVES INSURANCE DEPARTMENT EXAM BILL On October 16, the House Insurance Committee approved a bill requiring that the PA Insurance Department disclose the identities and costs of third-party vendors which perform financial exams and market conduct exams for insurance … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 32nd Issue October 9, 2017

IS THE BUDGET RESOLVED, OR NOT? On October 4, Governor Tom Wolf convened a press conference where he chided the House Republican Caucus for not concurring with revenue plans advanced by Senate Republicans and supported by House and Senate Democratic Caucuses.  He said, “I’ve had enough of the games. House Republicans again failed to deliver on a budget agreement. Over the past several months, I have been flexible and patient as they have repeatedly failed to agree amongst themselves on how to approach the budget.”   As such, he said, he was taking matters into his own hands by stating that he intended to tap into $1.25 billion of future profits from the PA Liquor Control Board in order to “manage the finances of the Commonwealth until the House sees fit to do what it is supposed to do.” He projected that this action would cost PA $86 million a year in interest, assuming a 4% rate of interest.   DEBT LIMITS BILL PASSES HOUSE House Bill 785 (Saylor-R-York) passed the House by a 117-81 vote on October 4 and goes back to the Senate for concurrence.  The bill seeks to address future borrowing by the state.  It decreases the debt … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 31st Issue September 26, 2017

SENATE SAYS NO: BUDGET ISSUES STILL UNRESOLVED On Wednesday, September 20, the PA Senate rejected a House-passed revenue bill by a vote of 43-7, thus paving the way for a Conference Committee where three House members and three Senators try to thrash out differences.  At issue was the Senate approach which included new taxes and the House version which had no new taxes but instead tapped about 50 dedicated funds to balance the State Budget.   Backdrop on the Senate Vote Technically, the Senate vote was on a motion to non-concur with House amendments to House Bill 453.  The vote showed that the more conservative wing of the Republican Party has less influence in the more moderate Senate than it does in the House where conservatives were able to convince all but 15 Republicans to go for the no-tax option.  The seven Senators voting for the House approach were John DiSanto (Perry/Dauphin), John Eichelberger (Blair), Scott Hutchinson (Venango), Mike Regan (Cumberland), Pat Stefano (Westmoreland/Somerset/Fayette), Scott Martin (Lancaster), and Scott Wagner (York).  Stalwart Senate conservatives Michelle Brooks (Erie/Warren/Crawford/Mercer) and Mike Folmer (Lebanon/Dauphin) did vote with the majority to oppose the House idea.   What Happens Next The PA House is  in … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 30th Issue September 19, 2017

SANDERS INTRODUCES MEDICARE FOR ALL SINGLE PAYER On September 13, Socialist/Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced S. 1804 to convert the U.S. insurance system to a single payer system.  He was joined by 16 Democratic co-sponsors including potential contenders for the 2018 Democratic presidential nomination, Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Cory Booker (NJ).  Called “Medicare for All”, the advantage of the plan per Sanders is that “Under this legislation, Americans will no longer have to pay premiums, co-payments, or deductibles to private health insurance companies that put profits over the needs of the American people. Instead of writing a big check to private health insurance companies, most Americans and businesses would be paying a much smaller percentage of their income to fund Medicare-for-all.”  It envisions a four-year phase-in.  A resource for this legislation is found at the Library of Congress web site, https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1804/all-info.   Senator Sanders’ website offers a summary of provisions: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/medicare-for-all-act-of-2017-executive-summary?id=943E7DB5-FCCA-4EA4-B215-A92F6642BA2C&download=1&inline=file   A September 19 New York Times opinion editorial by Lanhee J. Chen, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Policy Director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign and Micah Weinberg, President, the Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council, an employer-backed policy advocacy group in San … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW GPAHU Edition 2017, 31th Issue September 26, 2017

SENATE SAYS NO: BUDGET ISSUES STILL UNRESOLVED On Wednesday, September 20, the PA Senate rejected a House-passed revenue bill by a vote of 43-7, thus paving the way for a Conference Committee where three House members and three Senators try to thrash out differences.  At issue was the Senate approach which included new taxes and the House version which had no new taxes but instead tapped about 50 dedicated funds to balance the State Budget.   Backdrop on the Senate Vote Technically, the Senate vote was on a motion to non-concur with House amendments to House Bill 453.  The vote showed that the more conservative wing of the Republican Party has less influence in the more moderate Senate than it does in the House where conservatives were able to convince all but 15 Republicans to go for the no-tax option.  The seven Senators voting for the House approach were John DiSanto (Perry/Dauphin), John Eichelberger (Blair), Scott Hutchinson (Venango), Mike Regan (Cumberland), Pat Stefano (Westmoreland/Somerset/Fayette), Scott Martin (Lancaster), and Scott Wagner (York).  Stalwart Senate conservatives Michelle Brooks (Erie/Warren/Crawford/Mercer) and Mike Folmer (Lebanon/Dauphin) did vote with the majority to oppose the House idea. What Happens Next The PA House is  in session … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 29th Issue September 11, 2017

AN IMPORTANT MEMO TO PAHU MEMBERS Since 2003, PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES has provided LEG REG Review to PAHU as a value-added member benefit.  This arrangement has ended for HEALTH UNDERWRITERS who are not members of GPAHU. Ordinarily, this publication subscription is $100.00 per year.  What this means is that PAHU members wishing to receive LEG REG Review will need to subscribe UNLESS THEY ARE MEMBERS OF GPAHU.  By special arrangement, GPAHU members continue to receive LEG REG Review at no cost.  If you find this newsletter to be of help in keeping you abreast of legislative and regulatory developments that affect insurance brokers and their clients, I ask that you subscribe.  I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Vince Phillips ************************************* BUDGET, BUDGET, WHO’S GOT THE BUDGET? This week the House returns to Harrisburg to continue its efforts to finalize a revenue budget (Fiscal Code) after a summer recess which included numbers of internal meetings of Republican lawmakers.  Right now, there are several options being considered.  First is the Senate option which generated controversy because of its tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production and other tax increases.  This was a non-starter for the House Republican leadership.  Two other major … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 28th Issue August 31st, 2017

AN IMPORTANT MEMO TO PAHU MEMBERS As you know, I chose not to renew my contract with the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) effective July 1 as I begin scaling back my lobbying activities toward eventual retirement.  Part of my contract since 2003 has been to provide LEG REG Review to PAHU as a value-added member benefit.  Ordinarily, this publication subscription is $100.00 per year.  What this means is that PAHU members wishing to receive LEG REG Review will need to subscribe UNLESS THEY ARE MEMBERS OF GPAHU.  By special arrangement, GPAHU members will still continue to receive LEG REG Review at least through December 2017 at no cost to them.  If you find this newsletter to be of help in keeping you abreast of legislative and regulatory developments that affect insurance brokers and their clients, I ask that you subscribe.  I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Vince Phillips ************************************* PA ACTING COMMISSIONER TO TESTIFY On September 6, PA Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman and commissioners from Tennessee, Washington, Alaska, and Oklahoma will testify before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee in Washington, DC on ways to stabilize Affordable Care Act exchanges.  Their focus … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 27th Issue August 21st, 2017

WOLF NAMES TERESA MILLER ACTING DHS SECRETARY Governor Tom Wolf tapped Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller as Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS) effective August 21.  She replaces Secretary Ted Dallas who is currently on medical leave.  (According to one media report from Altoona radio station WRTA, Dallas will serve as an advisor to Governor Wolf when he returns to work.)  Prior to becoming Insurance Commissioner in January 2015 at the start of the Wolf Administration, Acting Secretary Miller held government service in the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) where she worked on the state-federal interface for the federally-facilitated marketplaces (exchanges) under the Affordable Care Act.  Before that, she served as Oregon’s Director of Insurance where she developed a state-based exchange.  Her tenure as PA Insurance Commissioner included many areas of overlap with the Department of Human Services some of which included integration of computer systems and transfer of CHIP administration to DHS. Miller had previously been designated as Governor Wolf’s choice to head the proposed combination of four Cabinet departments into one (Health, Aging, Human Services and Health). ALTMAN TO HEAD INSURANCE Governor Wolf also … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 26th Issue July 30th, 2017

PA BUDGET SAGA CONTINUES On July 27, the PA Senate voted narrowly to approve a series of tax increases that lined up with Wolf Administration proposals such as taxing the extraction of Marcellus natural gas, something Senate Republicans had previously opposed. The 26-24 vote on House Bill 542 showed an interesting party split with four Democrats joining 20 Republicans in saying no. This goes to the House for concurrence, something that will eventually invoke a test of wills between Senate Republican leadership, Senate and House Democrats versus House Republican leadership. HOWEVER…when looking at the State Budget and really trying to understand what is happening in Harrisburg, one needs to look at the fine print and to recognize that there is more than one Budget bill. First are the free standing bills. Some of these were mentioned in the last LEG REG Review — Senate Bill 680 provides for expenses of the State Employees’ Retirement Board. Senate Bill 681 provides for expenses of the Public School Employees’ Retirement Board. Senate Bill 683 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of Labor & Industry and the Department of Community & Economic Development to cover the expenses of administering the Workers’ Compensation … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 25th Issue July 17th, 2017

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 25th Issue *** July 17, 2017  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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting the Insurance and Business Communities.  Subscriptions are $100 per year and further information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 or e-mail at 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. Whether you need help meeting your CE or have a particular problem/question, please go to our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees, and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com PA HAS A BUDGET (SORT OF) On July 10, the FY 2017-18 State Budget became law without Governor Tom Wolf’s signature.  House Bill 218 (Act 1A of 2017) is a spending plan for Pennsylvania for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.  The $32 billion in spending authorized by the law is not the same as actually being able to spend the money.  That takes a separate piece of legislation in the state’s … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 24th Issue July 10th, 2017

IN ADDITION TO THE BUDGET DRAMA… the General Assembly acted on a number of insurance-related pieces of legislation: Medicaid Oversight:House Bill 1354 (Grove-R-York) seeks to rein in Medicaid expenditures by creating the Office of Independent Medicaid Director.  The July 7 vote was 111-79 with Democrats voting no.  Democrats argued that the selection process (Governor appoints from a list of three nominees from the General Assembly) would not result in a person with the best qualifications. Prescription Drugs: House Bill 1532 (Phillips-Hill – R-York) amends the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescription Program (ABC-MAP).  On July, it passed the House 112-78 with all Democrats except for Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria) voting no.  The bill’s purpose is to give access to ABC-MAP prescription data to Medicaid managed care organizations to hopefully identify patterns of patient abuse re opioids. Travel Insurance without a license: House Bill 1576 (Pickett-R-Bradford) allowing unlicensed employees of travel agencies to discuss travel insurance options without a license requires that there must be one licensed insurance producer at each location to review policy applications was reported out by the House Insurance Committee June 21 and is on the House calendar.  Senate Bill 630 (Reschenthaler-R-Allegheny) does not have this … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 23rd Issue June 26th, 2017

AGENT FEE BILL INTRODUCED On June 21, Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill) introduced legislation designed to allow insurance agents’ re-entry into the individual health insurance market.  House Bill 1605 states that insurance producers may charge a fee for helping consumers evaluate coverage options, networks and formulary issues, etc. and assist with the application itself when no commissions are paid.  Currently, Act 147 says that no fees may be paid to an insurance producer for completing an application.  The PA Insurance Department has interpreted the law to say that working with clients before reaching the actual application stage is part of “completing the application.”  The PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) met with the Insurance Department repeatedly on this issue before finally resorting to legislation.  PAHU had originally asked the Department to issue a Notice in the PA Bulletin spelling out when fees could and could not be paid.  The Insurance Department rebuffed this approach, saying that Act 147 did not allow any fee for completing an application (with their expanded definition of completing an application) and that the law would have to be changed in the General Assembly. Background:  For the most part, carriers stopped paying commissions for individual health insurance … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 22nd Issue June 19th, 2017

CONSOLIDATION UPDATE Reorganization of four Cabinet departments into one PA Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) is drawing attention now that the General Assembly passed partial pension reform (Senate Bill 1 signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf June 12 as Act 5 of 2017).  The proposal would merge the Departments of Health, Aging, Human Services and Drug & Alcohol Programs into the new DHHS.  Along the way, language was modified in answer to critics who argued that a consolidation would mean less attention paid to special areas such as services to the aged.  The new version has a Secretary of DHHS and commissioners for specialty areas who would also have direct access to the Governor.  The bills are Senate Bill 746 (Schwank-D-Berks) and House Bill 1000 (Bloom-R-Cumberland). There is pushback however.  Three Republican Senators, Carmen Bartolotta (Beaver/Greene/Washington), Lisa Baker (Luzerne/Pike/Susquehanna), and Michelle Brooks (Erie/Mercer/Warren/Crawford) circulated a sponsorship memo June 13 calling for a resolution to develop a process to determine how to proceed with possible unification.  The resolution delays implementation until a thorough assessment can be done regarding perceived cost savings and impacts on stakeholder groups.  The resolution has not yet been formally introduced.  Brooks is Majority Chair … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 20th Issue May 29th, 2017

MILLER WILL BE NOMINATED FOR HHS POST On May 23, Governor Wolf designated Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller as his nominee to be the new Secretary of the proposed PA Department of Health & Human Services.  If approved by the General Assembly, the consolidation will merge the existing Departments of Health, Human Services, Drug & Alcohol Programs and Aging.  There is a split within House Republican ranks with some supporting the proposal such as fiscal conservative Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) as a cost-saver.  Others like long-time Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) fear specific areas such as drug and alcohol abuse programs will lose a seat at the proverbial policy table by being absorbed into a larger agency.  NOTE:  If Governor Wolf is successful in getting the General Assembly to agree on the new Department, he has already said that the Acting Commissioner (replacing Miller) would be current Insurance Department Chief of Staff Jessica Altman. MORE CABINET NEWS Patrick McDonnell finally was confirmed by the PA Senate May 22 as Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) after serving in an acting capacity for a year.   Before being nominated by Governor Tom Wolf, McDonnell served as DEP Director of Policy and … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 21th Issue June 05th, 2017

MILLER ANNOUNCES MINIMAL INCREASE FOR EXCHANGE PLANS On June 1, Commissioner Teresa Miller announced individual and small group premium requests for 2018.  She stated that all of the five carriers offering had decided to continue offering policies in the exchange.  The aggregate statewide rate requests for individual policies are 8.8 percent and 6.6 percent for small group policies.  The notice said that company and plan-specific rate increases will be available July 21 at www.insurance.pa.gov. PRESCRIPTION LIABILITY RESOLUTION INTRODUCED Former House Judiciary Committee Minority Chair and current Minority Chair of the House Consumer Affairs Committee Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks) introduced House Resolution 363 urging Governor Wolf and PA Attorney General Shapiro to file suit against drug manufacturing companies.  The suit would claim that drug companies have responsibility for the opioid crisis in the Commonwealth. The proposed lawsuit would be filed consistent with the legal arguments in Ohio’s May 31, 2017, suit against five major manufacturers.  Ohio charged drug companies with downplaying risks of addiction and encouraging use while knowing that long-term use of opioids can lead to heroin or worse.  HR 363 was referred to the House Health Committee June 1. BUDGET NEWS May collections were somewhat better but the current fiscal … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 19th Issue May 15th, 2017

Dear Readers, Tuesday May 16 is primary voting day.  Although this election is about local and school district races, keep in mind that these races also will give us many Senators and Representatives later on.  So, if you are thinking of not voting, please consider that these men and women may be representing you in Harrisburg one day.  Given that, your vote is an investment in how you want your state to be governed in the future.  Message: Please vote.  Sincerely, Vince Phillips ************************************** REAL ID PROGRESSING On May 10, Senate Bill 133 (Ward-R-Westmoreland) was referred to the House Appropriations Committee after a contentious session of the House State Government Committee which amended the bill along party lines May 8.  This legislation brings PA into compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005, a Federal law requiring an upgrade to state systems of personal identification.  If PA does not comply with legislation in June, the consequence is that a driver’s license will NOT be accepted as identification on boarding commercial flights or providing access to Federal offices (Social Security, Farm Services Agency, military bases, etc.) in 2018.  The issue was an amendment in the House State Government Committee creating a … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 18th Issue May 08th, 2017

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS MOVE POST-ACA On May 4, U.S. House Republicans voted to forward a revised American Health Care Act (HR 1628) to the United States Senate.  The 217-213 vote showed a division in GOP ranks with 20 Republicans voting no along with all House Democrats.  All 18 PA Members of the U.S. House of Representatives were present and voted.  The breakdown was nine for passage and nine against the House Republicans’ Repeal & Replace bill.  Four Pennsylvania Republicans, Charlie Dent, Ryan Costello, Pat Meehan, and Brian Fitzpatrick voted no.  Groom Law Group has prepared a summary of the bill’s provisions: http://www.groom.com/media/publication/1829_SUMMARY_OF_KEY_PROVISIONS_OF_THE%20AMERICAN_HEALTH_CARE_ACT.pdf A link to the actual text follows:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1628/text Some provisions: Continued are ACA provisions dependant coverage up to age 26, first-dollar preventive care services, essential benefits (although states may ask for a waiver to change these) Rate band changes from 3:1 to 5:1.This means that insurers will have more options when pricing coverage per age.States would have the option of having ratios greater than 5:1. Coverage reporting requirements remain.Instead of an individual mandate, a person would have to document 12-months coverage or risk paying a 30% surcharge to the insurance company and not to the Federal Government. Tax subsidies … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 17th Issue May 01st, 2017

SENATE BANKING & INSURANCE COMMITTEES MOVES TWO, HOLDS ONE On April 25, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee reported out two bills but a third bill was held back, at least for now.  Making it through the committee was Senate Bill 630 (Reschenthaler-R-Washington/Allegheny) which would exempt travel agents from producer licensing requirements in placing travel insurance.  Travel agents would “work under the license of the producer of the insurance product.”  Liability goes to the limited license insurance producer who is responsible for the acts of travel retailers operating under the producer’s license.  The second bill was Senate Bill 143 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which removes the now defunct Middle Atlantic Truck Stop Operators from the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF) Board and replaces them with the PA Food Merchants Association. The third bill was vigorously opposed by Pharma, lobbying entity for drug manufacturers. Senate Bill 637 (White-R-Indiana) would establish the Pharmaceutical Transparency Commission to better educate consumers and payers about the components of drug pricing (how much of that price is attributed to research, how much to profits, etc.) and a benchmark price that could not exceed 20% of the costs.  The Commission would be funded by an assessment on drug manufacturers.  … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 16th Issue April 24, 2017

INSURANCE PRODUCER FEE SPONSORSHIP MEMO CIRCULATED Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill) is circulating a sponsorship memo to members of the House of Representatives which would permit agents and brokers to charge a fee if no commission is paid for individual health insurance policies.  This is the number one priority of the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU). Many insurance producers have been forced to stop helping consumers with individual coverage because carriers ceased paying commissions.  Rep. Tobash’s aim is to allow producers back into the business of helping individuals compare coverages and networks to help find the best policy for them to choose.  PAHU’s Day on the Hill is Tuesday, April 25.  Details on PAHU’s efforts: xenobun@aol.com, 717-232-0022.  Following is a link to Rep. Tobash’s sponsorship memo.  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=23684   INSURANCE BILLS TO BE CONSIDERED This coming week, there will be committee review/action on a number of bills relating to insurance. House Bill 324 (Kampf-R-Chester/Montgomery) would provide state protection for pensioners in non-ERISA “pension de-risking” where an employer transfers pension obligations to an insurer. (House Insurance Committee) Senate Labor & Industry Committee will consider Senate Bill 269 (Baker-R-Luzerne) which makes it easier for PA to adopt changes in the International Code Council … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 15th Issue April 10, 2017

HOUSE PASSES BUDGET BILL By a 114-84 vote April 4, the Pennsylvania House voted to send the Republican-crafted State Budget Bill to the Senate.  All Democrats voted against HB 218 as did four Republicans: Representatives DiGirolamo (Bucks), McGinnis (Blair), Harper (Montgomery), and Hennessey (Chester).  The $31.52 billion legislation is almost one billion less than Governor Tom Wolf originally proposed but it does add $100 million for K-12 education, something the Governor wanted.  The Insurance Department General Government Operations budget would not be affected because a dedicated fund was established several years ago to insulate the Department from the State Budget process.  Funded by fees collected by the Insurance Department, the Insurance Regulation Oversight Fund will provide $27.291 million for General Government Operations for the Department.  (Page 354 of the bill)  According to the Fiscal Note prepared by House Appropriations Committee staff, this represents a $2.441 million increase over the current fiscal year budget.  Link to bill follows: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2017&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0218&pn=1236   NOTES: State Budget line items begin on page 210 of the text. HB 218 assumes that Governor Wolf’s consolidation of four state Cabinet-level agencies (Health, Aging, Human Services, Drug & Alcohol Program) has taken place. It appears as Department of Health … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 14th Issue *** April 3, 2017

TURZAI ATTACKS PREMIUM TAX EXPANSION On March 31, PA House Speaker Mike Turzai weighed in on Governor Wolf’s proposed expansion of the PA Insurance Premium Tax to heretofore untaxed insurance entities.  He said that “The Governor’s health insurance tax is broad-based and will mean higher premiums for families purchasing insurance in the individual market, for small businesses providing coverage to their employees, and even for seniors purchasing Medicare supplementary or ‘gap’ coverage.”  This issue is of top concern to the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) for their Day on the Hill April 25 and also for this week’s Day on the Hill by PA National Federation of Independent Businesses (MFIB).  Some background information: The proposed expansion is expected to bring in $141.5 million in new revenue to the General Fund per the Budget Office.  A different number also appears elsewhere in the same document, suggesting that the revenue from the expansion will be reflected in revenues of $569.5 million, up from a current $460.2 million – a difference of $109.3 million.  Source:  http://www.budget.pa.gov/PublicationsAndReports/CommonwealthBudget/Documents/2017-18%20Proposed%20Budget/2017-18%20Budget%20Document%20-%20Web.pdf The expansion will not affect for-profit health insurance companies which already remit the premium tax.  What it will do is to include new entities within the … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 13th Issue March 27, 2017

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AVOIDS REPEAL & REPLACE…FOR NOW Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan pulled the plug on voting for the GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act Friday March 24 because not enough Republican votes were there to see the bill progress to the Senate.  The GOP proposal, H.R 1628, the American Health Care Act, had zero Democratic support and over 40 Republican Members indicated that they would be voting ‘no’.  In PA, Republican Representatives Scott Perry, ‘G.T.’ Thompson, Charlie Dent, and Brian Fitzpatrick either said they would vote no or were leaning no.  Speaker Ryan indicated that the House would now focus on tax reform legislation and that repealing and replacing Obamacare would wait.   There is more U.S. House health legislation that did go through although they were obscured by the larger news about H.R. 1628.  Legislation to remove the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies was passed by a 416-7 vote.  H.R. 372 amends the 1940s McCarran-Ferguson Act.  The second bill, H.R. 1101 passed by a partisan vote of 236-175.  It would allow association health plans, something about which the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) has long raised concerns.  According to … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 8th Issue February 13, 2017

INSURANCE COMMITTEE CONVENES PRESCRIPTION PRICE TRANSPARENCY HEARING On February 8, the House Insurance Committee held a hearing on House Bill 161 (DeLuca-D-Allegheny), mandating the drug manufacturers to supply data to the Insurance Department on drug prices and costs of production including research and development costs versus consumer marketing costs.  HB 161 would require reporting by drug companies if the price increase exceeded a certain level and would not be triggered if a price increase was in normal range. Testifiers included PA Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, Pharma (manufacturers), insurance companies, pharmacists, AARP, and PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU).  Drug companies insisted that their prices were justified by the long expense trail of development costs.  Regarding a trademark where manufacturers has a de facto monopoly on a new drug, the testifier said that trademark protection is warranted given that 90% of the market is quickly grabbed by generics from the brand name drug when the trademark protection period ends. PAHU pointed out that however unpleasant insurance premiums are, they are a symptom of increasing health care costs, much of which are fueled by prescription drug price increases.   Rep. Eli Evankovich (R-Westmoreland/Allegheny) suggested that there needs to be transparency from manufacturer … Read More

2017, 7th Issue February 10, 2017 SPECIAL BUDGET ISSUE

SPECIAL BUDGET ISSUE THE STATE BUDGET Overall, the proposed State Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, sees General Fund spending at $32.3 billion.  To put in perspective, the General Fund is only one part of the state’s total operating budget which is $81 billion.  In addition to the General Fund, Federal funds account for an additional $28.7 billion, lottery $1.8 billion, Motor License Fund $2.9 billion, and fees, etc. $3.7 billion.  Following are general questions as a quick reference.   Where does General Fund money come from? Personal Income Tax 40.1% Sales Tax 31.8% Corporate Net Income Tax 8.4% “Gross Receipts” Tax 3.8% Cigarette Tax 3.7% Non-tax Revenue & Other Taxes 10.0%   Where does the money go? Medical Assistance (Medicaid) & Long-Term Care 22.8% Other Health & Human Services 17.1% Pre-K through 12 Education 36.7% Higher Education 5.0% Criminal Justice (incl. Corrections) 7.8% Interest paid on state debt (loan servicing) 3.0% Everything else 6%   What new taxes will there be? Given the state’s dismal fiscal situation, the big news generally – no broad-based increase in PA Personal Income Tax or Sales Tax – was greeted with relief.   The Governor seeks a Marcellus Shale extraction … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 6th Issue February 6 2017

WELCOME TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUDGET WEEK On February 7, Governor Tom Wolf will present his proposals for state spending. In his speech to the General Assembly, he will announce spending priorities and further tout his idea for consolidation of four separate Cabinet departments into one. Previously, he said that he would not propose broad-based tax increases but would like to tax natural extraction. Note: The PA Insurance Department budget will be unaffected by the upcoming budget debate since its general government operations budget comes from a 2013 law, Act 46, which created a dedicated fund, the Insurance Regulation & Oversight Fund. An upcoming LEG REG Review will describe key elements of the Governor’s State Budget proposal. Later in February, House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings will take place. LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS • Senate Resolution 15 (White-R-Indiana) was adopted by the Senate January 30, declaring February 6 to be “Mutual Insurance Day” at the State Capitol. • Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee reported out two bills January 25 dealing with flood notifications. Senate Bill 50 and 51 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) require that the seller of a property disclose its location in a flood zone and whether or not any floods had actually occurred. … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 9th Issue February 20, 2017

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 9th Issue *** February 20, 2017 BUDGET HEARINGS BEGIN House and Senate Appropriations Committees kick off the annual gauntlet of legislative hearings on the State Budget proposed by Governor Tom Wolf. Most hearings will be covered by PCN. PA Cable Network’s schedule may be found at https://pcntv.com/schedule/. A selected list of hearings follows. Note that PCN program times may differ depending on their broadcast schedule. Neither House nor Senate has scheduled a hearing for the PA Insurance Department. Department of Agriculture: Feb. 27. Senate – March 1. House Dept. of Environmental Protection: Feb. 27 House – March 9. Senate Labor & Industry (think Workers’ Compensation): Feb. 22 House – Feb. 28 Senate Transportation: Feb. 22 House – Feb. 27 Senate Education: March 6 House – March 7 Senate Dept. Conservation & Natural resources: Feb. 27 House – March 1 Senate Dept. Community & Economic Development: March 2 House – March 6 Senate Governor’s Budget Office: March 9 House – March 10 Senate Regarding the Governor’s proposal to combine four separate Cabinet departments into one to be called Dept. of Health & Human Services, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are taking different approaches. The Senate Appropriations … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 5th Issue January 30, 2017

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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting the Insurance and Business Communities.  It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU).   PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 or e-mail to xenobun@aol.com.  www.vphillipsassoc.com  CONSOLIDATION ISSUE NOW ON TABLE Media reports over the weekend confirmed that Governor Tom Wolf is likely to try consolidating several cabinet departments as a way to reduce budget expenses this fiscal year as part of his effort to mitigate a HUGE budget deficit at the end of this fiscal year.  Presumably, this would mean consolidation of the PA Department of Aging, Department of Health and the PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs into a renamed PA Department of Health and Human Services (now the Dept. of Human Services).  What gives this added weight is the firing of PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis.  Although no reason was given, Reading news media speculated that Tennis utilized a long-time lobbyist Deb Beck to vet potential employees, prompting his removal.  Former Secretary … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 4th Issue, January 23, 2017

LEG REG REVIEW 2017, 4th Issue *** January 23, 2017   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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com    SPECIAL ELECTION DATE SET Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced that a special election will be held March 21 to fill the vacant Philadelphia House seat formerly held by Rep. Leslie Acosta before her conviction.   HOUSE INSURANCE TO HOLD HEARING On February 8, the House Insurance Committee plans a hearing on prescription drug price transparency.  It … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 17th Issue — October 24, 2016

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 18th Issue *** October 24, 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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com    LATE SESSION INSURANCE BILLS ADVANCE Even though the legislative session is winding down, a number of insurance bills are seeing traction as they make their way through the legislative process. LYFT/UBER: The House approved Senate Bill 984 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) by a 188-0 vote on October 19 and sent it back to the Senate for concurrence, which, if done, puts the … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 17th Issue — October 03rd, 2016

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 17th Issue *** October 3, 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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com    LONG-STANDING PROVIDER-INSURER ISSUE NEARS RESOLUTION A long-standing dispute between health care providers and health insurers is closer to resolution with the September 28 unanimous House passage of House Bill 2241.  Sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback (R-Lackawanna//Luzerne/Wyoming), the legislation limits insurers’ ability to look back to monies paid to health care providers to 24 months.  Providers and particularly chiropractors have … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 16th Issue — September 21st, 2016

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 16th Issue *** September 21, 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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com    GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETURNS TO HARRISBURG The PA House was in legislative session this week and the Senate returns September 26.  There are few session days left in 2016 and little inclination for a lame duck post-election session even though the House has two session days posted after the election.  Right now, here are the session days: September:      Both House … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 15th Issue — August 22nd, 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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com    NEW HOUSE MEMBER SWORN IN On August 17, Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) was sworn in as the newest member of the PA House of Representatives.  As this was a special election to fill a vacancy, he will have to succeed in the November general election in order to secure a full two-year term. Rep. Quinn has an insurance producer’s license.   POLITICAL UPDATES Two incumbent Democratic members of the General … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 14th Issue — August 02nd, 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 Pennsylvania legislation and regulations impacting 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. Whether it means meeting your CE need or helping with a particular problem/question, please visit our web site to explore how PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES may be of service to you, your employees and your clients.  www.vphillipsassoc.com     INSURANCE DEPARTMENTS REDUCES LTCi MANDATORY INFLATION On July 30, the PA Insurance Department issued Notice 2016-09 along with a request for comments on the Long-Term Care Partnership insurance policy (also called a Qualified Partnership Policy).  The Notice reduced the mandated inflation protection from three-percent to one-percent for Partnership policies.  Similar to a regulatory action taken by Maryland in May, the 1% requirement would “give consumers more affordable Long-Term Care … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 8th Issue — April 25, 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.     SPECIAL EDITION   PRIMARY NOTES Tomorrow Pennsylvania will be at center stage in the contest for President of the United States.  This has been the media focus.  Unfortunately, this overshadows many of the other races.  Phillips Associates researched primary races to identify those with an insurance or financial planning background as well as identifying those on committees relevant to the Insurance Industry.  Please consider this information as a planning tool in case an industry background is important as you cast your ballot.   SPECIAL ELECTION The winner of this race will take former Senator Pileggi’s place … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 7th Issue — April 18, 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.   AUTO APPRAISAL BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR House Bill 1638 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill) was signed into law April 14, 2016 as Act 13 of 2016.  This law amends the Motor Vehicle Physical Damage Appraisal Act to allow for photos to be used as documentation of a vehicle’s post-accident condition when making an appraisal.  Disputed findings by auto shops and others would mean that a physical personal inspection of the vehicle would take place.  Act 13 goes into effect in sixty days.   MEDICAL CANNABIS BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR Signed into law April 17 was Senate Bill 3 (Folmer-R-Lebanon and Leach-D-Montgomery) … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 6th Issue — April 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.   AUTO APPRAISER BILL GOES TO GOVERNOR After acrimonious debate throughout its legislative journey, House Bill 1638 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill) received a final nod from the House as it concurred with Senate amendments April 4.  If signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf, HB 1638 would amend the Motor Vehicle Physical Damage Appraisal Act to allow for photos to be used as documentation of a vehicle’s post-accident condition when making an appraisal.  Disputed findings by auto shops and others would mean a physical personal inspection of the vehicle.  The House vote was a bipartisan 129-59.   MEDICAL CANNABIS BACK IN … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 5th Issue – March 7, 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.   INSURANCE DEPARTMENT PLANS LTC INSURANCE HEARING The PA Insurance Department scheduled a March 10 hearing in Harrisburg to allow for public comment on recent rate increases for long-term care insurance.  In addition to the premium issue, the hearing is also designed to spotlight how the rate review process works.  Anyone wanting to testify at any of these sites or in Harrisburg should register at ra-in-comment@pa.gov. Satellite locations can be found in: Erie: Blasco Library, 160 East Front Street, Erie, PA 16507 Philadelphia: West Oak Lane Senior Center, 7210-18 Ogontz Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19138 Pittsburgh: Carnegie Library of … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 4th Issue – February 28, 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.   POLICY CHIEF DEPARTS WOLF ADMINISTRATION John Hanger has resigned his post as Secretary of Policy & Planning for the Wolf Administration.  Previously, he served Governor Rendell as his Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and was a Democratic primary opponent against Tom Wolf in 2014.  Effective February 26, his successor is former Deputy Director of Policy & Planning Sarah Galbally.  She was former Policy Director for the Wolf for Governor Campaign and holds an MPA from Villanova and a BA from University of Pennsylvania.  In a post-retirement interview, Hanger laid the blame for PA’s budget … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 3rd Issue – February 15, 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.   WOLF CALLS FOR 33-PLUS BILLION BUDGET On February 9, Governor Tom Wolf presented his proposal to the General Assembly for the State Budget in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016.  This may be another conflict-ridden budget cycle, building on the fact that part of the current fiscal year budget has not been finalized pending legislative actions relative to the Governor’s line-item veto in December of numbers of budget items.   In his address, the Governor admonished the General Assembly for the FY 2015-16 State Budget, saying “The budget they sent me relied on the same gimmicks … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2016, 2nd Issue – January 18, 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.   MORE RETIREMENTS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY Several more members the PA General Assembly indicated that they have chosen not to seek re-election: Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-Lebanon), Chair of the House Labor & Industry Committee which handles Workers’ Compensation legislation Rep. Nick Kotik (D-Allegheny), Minority Chair of the House Gaming Oversight Committee Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) Senator Shirley Kitchen (D-Phila.), Minority Chair, Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee. Majority Chair Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland) had already announced her retirement at the end of this term.   PA COMMISSIONER NOW NAIC P/C CHAIR Announced January 11 by the National … Read More

2015, 37th Issue – December 29, 2015

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.   STATE BUDGET UPDATE   Today, December 29, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1460 into law as Act 10-A of 2015, bringing to a close some of the uncertainty resulting from the budget impasse.  There will be more legislative action or reaction since the Governor’s veto pen was busy knocking out specific line items. Generally, the insurance industry is not impacted because the Insurance Department’s funding comes from a dedicated source of revenue, a special fund created to insulate it from such budget situations as we have now.  The Department still needs more funding but that would need … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 35th Issue – December 7, 2015

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.   A BUDGET?  When the State Budget impasse is resolved, Leg-Reg Review will issue a special edition.   LTC COUNCIL SIGNED INTO LAW Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 753 (Schlegel-Culver-R- Northumberland) into law as Act 64 of 2015.  This legislation culminates a four-year bipartisan effort to create a permanent Long-Term Care Council whose members will represent a wide span of interests with an interest in senior and long-term care quality and independent living issues.  PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) was successful in making sure that an insurance producer with experience selling long-term care insurance was included.  … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 34th Issue – November 23, 2015

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.   Dear Leg-Reg Review Reader: Despite the three larger issues that dominate the media — State Budget, pension reform, privatization of the liquor stores– there are a good number of pieces of insurance legislation which have been introduced or are seeing legislative activity.  Some examples: Auto Damage Photo Appraisal Auto Insurance requirements doubled Breast density screening mandated benefit CHIP reauthorization and transferring CHIP from the Insurance Department to the Dept. of Human Services, formerly known as DPW Flood Insurance reporting requirement Long-Term Care Council which includes an insurance producer in its makeup Property Tax Elimination Reauthorization of PHC4 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 33d Issue – November 16, 2015

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.   MORE ELECTION RESULTS LEAD TO LEGISLATIVE VACANCIES In addition to Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D-Delaware) being elected mayor of Chester as reported in last week’s Leg Reg Review, other legislative vacancies will occur and special elections will be needed in the New Year. Former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester/Delaware) won as judge on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Rep. Tim Krieger (R-Westmoreland) will serve on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas. Rep. Cherelle Parker (D-Phila.) won a seat on the Philadelphia City Council.   PHOTO APPRAISAL BILL SEES HOUSE CONTROVERSY House Bill 1638 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill) … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 31st Issue – November 2, 2015

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.   COMMERCIAL DRIVERS LICENSE LEGISLATION IS SIGNED INTO LAW Senate Bill 925 (Rafferty-R-Montgomery) was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf as Act 49 of 2015.  This bill updates PA requirements for the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): – No employer shall allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle unless the person is qualified – CDL tests are in English and no interpreters are allowed – PA will accept other states’ skills tests as long as those tests meet Federal standards – If there is evidence of fraud, the driver must retake the test(s) within 30 days – … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 30th Issue – October 19, 2015

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.   LEGISLATURE RESUMES WORK Both House and Senate will be in session this week.  There are two insurance-relevant bills on the voting calendars at this time.  House Bill 347 (O’Neill-R-Bucks) regarding how ambulance services can be reimbursed by insurance carriers is on the Senate voting calendar for October 20.  It will still need one more consideration by the Senate before final passage. It allows for direct EMS reimbursement but requires them to put their names on a registry maintained by the state.  It also specifies that insurers must consider ambulance reimbursement at in-network reimbursement schedules.  In addition: If … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 29th Issue – October 6, 2015

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.   BUDGET GAUNTLET CONTINUES As expected, Governor Wolf vetoed the latest attempt by the General Assembly to get some state money flowing.  Apparently, House Republican leaders will have Members vote this week on tax increases proposed by the Governor.  If adopted, the way would be paved for consideration of a spending plan for the FY 2015-16 Fiscal Year.  The challenge for Democrats will be to hold Democratic votes from natural gas areas of the state for a tax on Marcellus Shale extraction.  If there are defections, can Republican votes from southeastern PA offset them?  Of particular interest to … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 28th Issue – September 21, 2015

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.   GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETURNS FOR FALL SESSION The PA General Assembly has returned to Harrisburg for work on its’ fall agenda which looks uncomfortably like its’ summer agenda after Governor Wolf vetoed state spending plans passed by Republicans.  As negotiations continue, on September 18, the Senate passed a bill to provide $11.2 billion in short-term relief to social service providers that are hamstrung by the budget impasse.  In turn, the Governor said he is inclined to veto, preferring reconsideration of his State budget proposal.  His press secretary Jeff Sheridan issued the following:  “The Republican plan to pass a … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 27th Issue – September 8, 2015

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.   BUDGET STATUS No breakthrough is in sight after two months of unsuccessful negotiations.  While some discussions have centered on a modified pension reform proposal advanced by Republicans and apparent willingness to increase education funding, so far, there does not appear to be traction on any proposals.  Now, according to media, negotiations are taking place is smaller meetings.  Legislatively, there may be growing interest in adopting a continuing resolution which continues funding at present levels until an agreement can be reached for the Fiscal Year 2015-16 State Budget.   Meantime, the Revenue Department released tax collection numbers for … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 26th Issue – August 24, 2015

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.   GOVERNOR EXPANDS CHIP BENEFITS On August 20, Governor Wolf and Insurance Commissioner Miller announced that enrollees in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will have their benefits expanded to meet compliance requirements of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  This change will take place in December.  Background:  Early in the Wolf Administration, HHS determined that 3,600 children enrolled in the CHIP Buy-In (meaning that they pay the full premium rather than receiving a taxpayer subsidy) did not have PPACA-compliant coverage and would have to pay fines for 2014 and 2015.  The Wolf Administration was able to … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 25th Issue – July 27, 2015

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.   GENERAL ASSEMBLY SUSPENDS WORK FOR SUMMER Given the measure of differences between Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and Republicans in the House and Senate over state spending and whether or not to levy additional taxes, neither House nor Senate will be in session for much of the summer.  The House recessed July 22 and is slated to return August 25 unless recalled by the Speaker.  The Senate concluded its work July 15 and will not return until September 21 unless recalled.  Meanwhile Budget negotiations continue.   Something that may reduce the chance of quick reconciliation between the two … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 24th Issue – July 20, 2015

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.   TO THE GOVERNOR The Senate completed work on Senate Bill 487 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks) on July 14.  This legislation limits co-payments for insured medical services provided by physical therapists, chiropractors and occupational therapists. The final vote was 46-0 (concurrence with House amendments) and the bill will shortly be at the Governor’s desk for his signature.   FAQs ON BUDGET IMPASSE ISSUED BY ADMINISTRATION Wolf Administration issued a set of FAQs describing what happens when the new fiscal year is delayed.  http://www.pa.gov/Pages/budgetFAQs.aspx#.VaeUD7XcBjw . It focuses on what state payments may still be made and what is suspended until a new … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 23d Issue – July 13, 2015

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.   SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR House Bill 972 (Pickett-R-Bradford) amends Act 154 specifying the commencement of the period during which the owner of an individual life policy or annuity may examine or return the policy for cancellation.  It shall be the date of mailing, the date the policy or annuity is physically delivered, or the date of electronic transmission of the policy or annuity.  The insurer shall have the burden of proof as to documenting the delivery date.  HB 972 was signed into law as Act 30 of 2015 by Governor Wolf on July 10. Despite being at … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 22d Issue – July 2, 2015

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.   BUDGET BILL VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR House Bill 1192 (Adolph-R-Delaware), the Republican $30.1 billion State Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, was sent to Governor Wolf June 30 and vetoed the same evening.  His veto sets up a contentious summer of hard negotiations between General Assembly Republicans and the Democratic Governor   AT THE GOVERNOR’S DESK Senate Bill 655 (Browne-R-Lehigh) originally extended the authorization for the State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) until June 30, 2019 but was amended in the House Appropriations Committee June 28 to also serve as a state spending vehicle.  Examples include … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 21st Issue – June 29, 2015

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.   THIS IS IT: BUDGET SHOWDOWN WEEK The Senate is considering the House Republican passed $30.1 billion State Budget (House Bill 1192).  Governor Wolf has already laid out a promise to veto in that the GOP plan does not provide a billion dollars more for education, does not impose a natural gas extraction tax, or increase the reach of the state sales tax to professional services.  He did not specify whether he would veto the entire package or only selected parts, saying “We’ll see what they send me.”  Waiting in the wings are other invitations to veto, liquor … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 20th Issue – June 22, 2015

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.   GOVERNOR SIGNS NAVIGATOR BILL On June 19, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) into law as Act 7 of 2015.  This law 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.  SB 293 also gives navigators and certified application counselors the authority to refer an individual to an insurance producer.  The law specifies limitations on navigator et al activity.  Among other things, they may not: Sell, solicit or negotiate insurance Urge or advise a prospective … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 19th Issue June 15, 2015

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.   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 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 18th Issue June 8, 2015

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.   NAVIGATOR BILL MOVES TO SENATE Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) passed the PA House June 2 by a 195-0 vote.  Registering Patient Protection Affordable Care Act navigators and certified application counselors and requiring criminal background checks for those individuals, SB 293 was amended to include clarifying language from the Governor’s Office.  Since the bill specifies what navigators et al cannot do — what licensed producers do –, the Administration wanted language that repeated Federal rules as to what navigators et al are authorized to do.  It was referred to the Senate Rules Committee and is lined up for … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 17th Issue June 1, 2015

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.   WOLF ADMINISTRATION DETAILS STATE-BASED EXCHANGE PLAN On May 28, Wolf Administration officials outlined their plans to move to a state-based exchange should the US Supreme Court rule against the Obama Administration to say that those in federally-facilitated marketplaces (FFMs) like Pennsylvania’s 280,000 enrollees would lose their tax subsidy because of wording in the original Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) law.  Calling it a Supported State-Based Marketplace, Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas, said that (assuming HHS approval), Pennsylvania would manage the exchange but would use healthcare.gov as the operating platform.  … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 16th Issue May 25, 2015

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.   ELECTION RESULTS There were a number of local and county contests involving members of the General Assembly. SABATINA WINS SPECIAL ELECTION Rep. John Sabatina (D-Phila.) has won the special Senate election for the seat vacated by Mike Stack after he was elected Lt. Governor.  This means that there will both be a House open seat and a vacancy for the position of Minority Chair of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. PILEGGI ON FALL BALLOT FOR COUNTY JUDGE Senator Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester/Delaware) won the Republican nomination for Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in the May … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 15th Issue May 18, 2015

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.   NAVIGATOR BILL REPORTED OUT OF HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) received a unanimous vote by the House Insurance Committee on May 11. The legislation would require navigators, certified application counselors and other Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) ‘assisters’ to register with the PA Insurance Department and undergo a criminal background check. SB 293 passed the Senate earlier this year.  An amendment authored by Minority Chair Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny) allowing navigators et al to compare plans was also approved by the committee.  Movement of SB 293 was one of PAHU’s top priorities during the Association’s … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 14th Issue *** May 4, 2015

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.   WOLF ANNOUNCES INTENT FOR STATE-BASED EXCHANGE On May 1, Governor Tom Wolf sent a letter to US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell saying that Pennsylvania’s intent is to be re-classified as a state-based exchange.  PA would operate it but would retain the healthcare.gov operating platform.  He did so to let Federal regulators know that PA plans to have a contingency plan should the US Supreme Court rule that tax subsidies are no longer to be available in federally-facilitated marketplace states such as Pennsylvania.   NAVIGATOR BILL COMING UP IN HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 13th Issue *** April 27, 2015

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.   LEGISLATIVE CHANGES Two members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are leaving April 30 and a third Representative may depart in May. Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) is a member of the House Insurance Committee and was elected in 2004.  His other committees include Appropriations, Judiciary, and Gaming Oversight.  He is the incoming Executive Director of the Public School Employee Retirement System. Joe Hackett (R-Delaware) was elected in 2010 and serves on the House Human Services, Professional Licensure, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees. He stated that he is returning to law enforcement. John Sabatina (D-Phila.) was elected … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 11th Issue *** April 6, 2015

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.   LTC COUNCIL BILL WINS KEY COMMITTEE VOTE House Bill 753 (Schlegel-Culver-R-Northumberland/Snyder) passed the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee on April 1 unanimously after adopting amendments adding behavioral specialists and others to the makeup of the Long-Term Care Council.  Amendments bring the total number of Council members to 35.  This legislation creates the Long-Term Care Council to create a permanent emphasis by the state on meeting the needs of seniors requiring long-term care.  During the meeting, Rep. Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery/Phila.) raised the point that the Council’s work must focus on promoting long-term care insurance as an … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 10th Issue *** March 16, 2015

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.   WOLF ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES HEALTHY PA PHASEOUT The Department of Human Services (DHS) has released a timeline detailing the Administration’s plan for expansion of traditional Medicaid.  By September 30, all individuals enrolled in Healthy PA’s private coverage option will be rolled into a new adult benefit package with coverage provided by DHS managed care organizations.  The Wolf Administration promised that no one would see a gap in coverage.   HIGHMARK GIVES ANTHEM PRIVACY REASSURANCE Highmark sent a March 2015 letter to policyholders saying that Highmark is not directly affiliated with Anthem but some policyholders may have been serviced … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 9th Issue *** March 9, 2015

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.   GOVERNOR WOLF PROPOSES BUDGET Governor Tom Wolf presented his FY 2015-16 State Budget proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate March 3.  Following are some general highlights reported by the media, followed by Budget details of particular interest to the insurance industry.   General Highlights:  General Fund revenues from various taxes (corporation, personal income, sales, etc.) are budgeted at $30 billion compared to $28.889 million in the current FY 2014-15.  Property taxes at the local level would be reduced as would Corporate Net Income Taxes and a continued reduction in the Capital Stock & … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 8th Issue *** March 2, 2015

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.   AND SO IT BEGINS…BUDGET SEASON IS UPON THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY Just as sure as the Groundhog gives us six more weeks of winter and we have daylight savings time (so that we can better see the icy roads), we have the annual progression of the State Budget cycle beginning with the Governor’s speech to the General Assembly.  After the speech comes a month-long set of hearings held by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees where government officials will be asked to explain Governor Tom Wolf’s Budget proposal for them.   The Tuesday March 3 address will be … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 7th Issue *** February 23, 2015

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.   NAVIGATOR BILL ON SENATE VOTING CALENDAR Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) passed another crucial Senate test on February 17 by being reported out by the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 16 to 10 vote.  Voting was along party lines with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no.   SB 263 would require individuals working for navigator, certified application counselors, and other “assistors” to register with the PA Insurance Department and have a criminal background check.  The vote followed one by the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee last week to move the bill.  That vote, like this one, was along … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 6th Issue *** February 16, 2015

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.   WOLF SEEKS TO SCUTTLE HEALTHY PA, PREFERRING STRAIGHT MEDICAID On February 9, Governor Tom Wolf began the process to reverse the HHS-approved Healthy PA advanced by his predecessor, Tom Corbett.  This begins fulfillment of a campaign promise to return to traditional Medicaid, although expanded in line with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  In making the announcement, Governor Wolf said that those currently enrolled in Healthy PA (approximately 156,000) will not be affected yet.  According to the Administration, individuals in the Private Coverage Option will be transited into “one streamlined adult package without interruption to their … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 5th Issue *** February 9, 2015

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.   INSURANCE COMMITTEE MOVES NAVIGATOR BILL On February 3, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee reported out Senate Bill 293 (Eichelberger-R-Blair), requiring navigators and certified application counselors under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to register with the Insurance Department and undergo a criminal background check.  This legislation is the top priority of the PA Association of Health Underwriters.  According to NAHU, twenty-one other states have passed similar legislation. Last year, navigator oversight legislation passed the PA Senate but not the House.  The February 3 vote was along party lines, 9-5, with Republicans voting for.  SB 293 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 4th Issue *** February 2, 2015

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.   TREASURER McCORD RESIGNS In a January 29 letter to Governor Tom Wolf, PA State Treasurer Robert McCord submitted his resignation effective February 12, 2015.  The letter stated “But with my goals at Treasury now achieved and with a new Governor now in office to appoint my successor, it is time for me to return to the private sector where most of my life’s work has been.”  McCord designated Treasury General Counsel to serve in an acting capacity until the Governor nominates his successor.  On January 30, McCord’s attorneys issued a statement saying “Mr. McCord will be pleading … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 3rd Issue *** January 26, 2015

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.   WOLF, STACK INAUGURATED On January 20, Tom Wolf and Michael Stack were sworn in as Governor and Lt. Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  In his inaugural address, Governor Wolf stressed that he is not a product of the political system and that his personal business success stemmed from his being able to bring different people together to decide on and reach common goals.  For Pennsylvania, he said, some of these goals include education and economic growth with government being a constructive partner.  In his speech however, he did not mention agriculture, PA’s biggest industry, or unveil … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 2nd Issue *** January 16, 2015

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.   WOLF MAKES MORE NOMINATIONS Incoming Governor Tom Wolf is nominating several more Cabinet Secretaries.  –          Agriculture — Russell Redding, Dean of the Ag Department at DelawareValleyUniversity and former Secretary of Agriculture in the Rendell Administration.  He is a strong Crop Insurance advocate. –          Banking & Securities — Robin Weissmann, Artemis Capital Group/ vice president, Goldman Sachs –          Budget — Randy Albright, Democratic Executive Director, Senate Appropriations Committee –          Corrections — John Wetzel, a holdover from the Corbett Administration –          Conservation & Natural Resources — Cindy Dunn, president PennFuture environmental group –          Environmental Protection — John Quigley, former … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015 Special Edition Issue *** January 12, 2015

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.    WOLF NOMINATES TERESA MILLER AS INSURANCE COMMISSIONER   On January 12, Tom Wolf announced his intent to nominate Teresa Miller, a former HHS Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) official as PA Insurance Commissioner, replacing Michael Consedine who served in that capacity during the Corbett Administration.  Miller, currently a partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Crowell Moring, was acting director of the State exchanges Group, the Oversight Group, and the Insurance Programs Group at the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.  This means that she was a key architect … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2015, 1st Issue *** January 12, 2015

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.   CONSEDINE SAYS NO PA Insurance Commissioner and NAIC President-Elect Michael Consedine indicated January 9 that he would not stay on as Insurance Commissioner after Governor-elect Wolf takes office January 20.  From his announcement: “To my friends and colleagues around the globe – So as the saying goes, “all good things must come to end.”  Such is the case with my time as Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner and NAIC President-Elect.   The tenure of my Governor expires on January 20th and the time has come for me to also move on.  It was a difficult decision but one that is … Read More

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 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 35th Issue *** December 29, 2014

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.   A NEW YEAR’S NOTE We at PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES want to wish you a very Happy New Year.  Suffice it to say, 2014 was tumultuous and our business plan has adapted.  My firm will explore Internet-based CE as a supplement to traditional classroom teaching because many have expressed interest in taking CE from PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES via the Web.  Other new avenues will be to focus on obtaining grants for clients and video and film production.  Please always feel free to contact me with your suggestions and ideas.  That is why PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES has been in business since 1999.  … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 33d Issue *** December 15, 2014

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.   WOLF TRANSITION CONTINUES ITS PROGRESS The Transition Team for Governor-elect Tom Wolf has moved to the next level with designation of key individuals to head up the transitions for specific agencies.  Some agencies of interest are: Insurance: Former State Representative T.J. Rooney (D-Northampton) who served on the House Insurance Committee; now public affairs/political consultant Aging (Long-term care): Everette James who served former Governor Rendell as his Secretary of Health; now heading University of Pittsburgh’s Health Policy Institute Agriculture (Crop Insurance): Russell Redding, former Agriculture Secretary under Gov. Rendell and now Dean of Agriculture & Science at DelawareValleyUniversity … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 32d Issue *** December 8, 2014

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.   REVENUE IS UP SO WHY THE DRASTIC BUZZ? October and November revenues came in better than expectations, $109 million more than anticipated for this fiscal year.  For example, corporate taxes came in year-to-date (YTD) $863.1million or $86.1 million over estimate.  Similar increases were seen in sales taxes ($4 billion YTD –$49.4 million over estimate) and inheritance taxes ($449.6 million YTD –$90.3 million over estimate).  About on track were personal income tax collections ($4.2 billion YTD which was $10.8 million below expectations –0.3 percent) and taxes from cigarettes, malt beverages, and table games at $595.2 million YTD or … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 29th Issue *** November 5, 2014

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.   THE 2014 ELECTION SPECIAL ISSUE Although the Governor’s race was depressing for Republicans with former Rendell Budget chief and York businessman Tom Wolf defeating incumbent Tom Corbett 54.8% to 45.2% (1,892,193 to 1,559,954 votes), Republicans strengthened their control over both Senate and House.   Senate Republicans will be at 30 Republicans to 20 Democrats while the House GOP will have at least a 33-vote cushion, presenting an interesting challenge for the new Wolf Administration as it presents its legislative agenda.   In a rebuke to earlier concerns about Republican vulnerabilities seen in southeast PA, Republican incumbents were handily … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 28th Issue *** November 2, 2014

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.     THEY MADE IT… Additional insurance legislation has been signed into law by Governor Corbett. Senate Bill 1180 (Vance-R-Cumberland) strengthens the state system for prescription drug monitoring and gives health care providers electronic access to a patient’s prescription drug history.  The bill was approved by Governor Tom Corbett on October 27 as Act 191 of 2014. Also approved by the Governor October 27 was Act 184 /House Bill 1846 (Quinn-R-Bucks), a Workers Compensation bill addressing the issue of some doctors possibly obtaining more WC monies than they are entitled to because of prescription coding.  HB 1846 requires … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 27th Issue *** October 27, 2014

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.   PERSONAL NOTE from VINCE PHILLIPS A good number of LEG REG REVIEW subscribers have asked about my condition after my brain surgery.  First, I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers.  Recovery is going well although with most major medical procedures there are good days and better days.  I just want you to know how much I appreciate your being part of this little community that LEG REG REVIEW has built.  Although I am biased, I think it fills a niche not filled by any other insurance publication — PA specific legislative and regulatory … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 26th Issue *** October 20, 2014

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.   NAVIGATOR LEGISLATION RUNS OUT OF TIME Despite October 14 passage by the Senate, Pennsylvania legislation regulating Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) navigators and certified application counselors is dead for this legislative session because the General Assembly ran out of days on which to act.  Senate Bill 1268 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) would have required navigators et al to register with the PA Insurance Department and mandate that individuals working for a navigator or certified application counselor (such as a food bank, library, etc.) undergo a criminal background check.  The PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) supported SB 1268 and … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 25th Issue October 6, 2014

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.   MORE LEGISLATIVE UPDATES As the tempo increases in the waning number of session days, there are additional legislative updates to track: On September 24, the House Insurance Committee reported House Bill 1937 (Quinn-R-Bucks) to require life insurance companies to utilize the US Social Security Death Master File in order to effectively find beneficiaries of life policies.  The Insurance Department has concluded agreements with many major carriers to utilize the Death Master File but HB 1937 would require this for all life insurers. Also on September 24, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee reported out Senate Bill 1441 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 24thd Issue September 29, 2014

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.   Dear Reader: As many know, I underwent surgery for a brain hemorrhage and am recovering well.  I want to thank everyone who sent get well wishes and prayers to aid in my recovery.  Things like friendship and support have value beyond imagining. Regards,        Vince Phillips *********************************************** HOME STRETCH FOR THIS SESSION The 2013-14 session of the PA General Assembly is nearing an end with a flurry of last minute votes and activity for bills which will not pass but which want to be well-positioned in the next session of the General Assembly beginning in January 2015. SESSION … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 23d Issue August 25, 2014

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.   GENERAL ASSEMBLY WORK RESUMES IN SEPTEMBER The PA General Assembly returns to the State Capitol September 15 to complete a myriad of tasks in a very short period of time.  Two large issues are pension reform and passage of legislation imposing a Philadelphia cigarette tax to fund Phila. schools.  Other issues commanding attention are liquor store privatization and property tax reform although it is uncertain whether either of the later two has enough political traction to see further legislative action this session. Insurance issues possibly commanding attention include: –          Reauthorization of PA Health Care Cost Containment Council … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 22d Issue August 11, 2014

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.   LEGISLATURE OPTS NOT TO RECONVENE The PA House opted not to reconvene in August to address Philadelphia school funding (a cigarette tax) and possibly reauthorization of the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).  This defers legislative action until September 15.  Governor Corbett said that he would advance funding to the PhiladelphiaSchool District in anticipation of legislative action so as to allow schools to begin on time.  Still on the table is Governor Corbett’s statement that he was considering forcing the General Assembly back into Harrisburg to force action on pension reform legislation.   In September, the … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 21st Issue August 1, 2014

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.   PHC4 GETS GOVERNOR REPRIEVE Published on July 26 was Governor Corbett’s Executive Order 2014-04 allowing for a transition period for the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).  This independent agency which reviews and compares hospital costs and outcomes lost its legislative authority July 1.  Although legislation has been introduced — Senate Bill 1267 (Vance-R-Cumberland) to reauthorize the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) until June 30, 2017– it still needs House concurrence before PHC4 can regain its legislative authorization.  The Executive Order means that staff may continue to function (get paid) and that all functions … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 20th Issue July 21, 2014

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.   BUDGET FOLLOWUP Now that the new fiscal year has begun, a review of the past FY might be in order.  First, revenue projections were off.  Despite June collections coming in at a greater rate than anticipated, the net result for the FY was almost ½ billion dollars short of projections.  Second, PA’s new budget projects $29.6 billion in revenue representing over one billion more than was collected in FY 2013-14, an increase of 3.5%.  Despite the shortfall in revenues, actual collections were up in FY 2013-14 over the preceding fiscal year, although be it by only $30.9 … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 19th Issue July 14, 2014

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.   CORBETT SIGNS BUDGET BUT… On July 10, Governor Corbett signed State Budget House Bill 2328 into law.  FY 2014-15 started July 1, 2014 and includes $ 29.1 billion in spending.  The Governor challenged two powerful interests in his press conference explaining his decision to sign the Budget into law.  First was the General Assembly which he castigated for not passing pension reform.  To show his displeasure, he vetoed some $65 million in funds for the General Assembly in the Budget, saying that it could come from its reserves.  He also left open the prospect of a special … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 17th Issue June 23, 2014

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. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE Pension Reform: Work in Progress Budget: Work in Progress Liquor Store Privatization: Work in Progress House Bill 1436 (Truitt-R-Chester) was reported out unanimously by the House Children & Youth Committee June 17.  The bill would mandate health insurance coverage for certain low amino acid foods necessary for children who have severe allergic reactions. June 17 the House Insurance Committee reported out House Bill 2340 (Kampf-R-Chester).  This bill sets forth the framework by which a reciprocal insurance company may convert to a stock insurance company. On June 17, the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee reported … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 16th Issue June 16, 2014

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. BUDGET BILL BEGINS JOURNEY It’s the start of crunch time for PA lawmakers coming to grips with the State Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.  It’s all about money since revenue projections for this year were not met. May’s collections for example were $108 million less than anticipated. The initial vehicle for the Budget is House Bill 2328 (Adolph-R-Delaware) which was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee June 9 and  re-referred to the House Rules Committee June 11.  Expected is a House vote this week and movement of HB 2328 to the Senate for … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 15th Issue June 9, 2014

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. MEDICAID EXPANSION MOVES THROUGH COMMITTEE In somewhat of a surprise, the House Human Services Committee reported a bill 12-11 to expand Medicaid coverage in line with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level.  House Bill 1492 (DiGirolamo-R-Bucks) was reported out June 4 thanks to three Republican votes (DiGirolamo, Tom Murt (MontgomeryCounty) and Joe Hackett (DelawareCounty) plus all Democrats.  The bill pits several Republicans against House leadership which prefers to see how Governor Corbett’s ‘Healthy PA’ proposal flies with the Federal Government first.  House Republicans who have signed on as sponsors oh … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 14th Issue May 28, 2014

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. GENERAL ASSEMBLY RETURNS The PA General Assembly returns June 2 to address several key issues, the most pressing of which is passage of the State Budget by month’s end.  Others demanding time are pension reform, liquor store privatization, property tax reform (possibly in the Senate Finance Committee), and of interest to insurance agents and brokers, House Bill 1522 and Senate Bill 1268 requiring Navigator and certified application counselor registration and criminal background checks.  The first week of their return does not yet show any committee activity or calendar activity regarding insurance but one bill requires data breach notifications … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 13th Issue May 19, 2014

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. ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY Tuesday May 20 is primary election day in PA.  The spotlight is on Democratic primaries for Governor and Lt. Governor to see who will oppose the Corbett-Cawley team in the November election.  Many legislative primaries are uncontested or have incumbents facing token opposition.  In the House there are 203 seats.  97 are unopposed in either the primary or the general election (42 Democrats and 55 Republicans).  Of the remaining 106 races, 28 will be decided in the primary (18 will be Democratic and 10 will be Republicans).  There are two races where incumbents are … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 12th Issue May 12, 2014

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. BLEAK BUDGET FORCAST PA revenues remain sluggish.  April which is normally a big month in collections proved disappointing.  PA collected $3.4 billion in general revenue which was $328.3 million or 8.8% less than anticipated.  YTD collections were $23.9 billion by April 30 or 1.7% below projections.  This apparently does not take into account a recent court decision that reinstated PA’s share of Tobacco Settlement money.  There are two outcomes: First, Governor Corbett is examining existing budgets to see where savings/cuts can be found so as to balance this year’s budget. Second, June is the month when legislators act … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 11th Issue April 28, 2014

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. LTC HEARINGS SET BY CORBETT ADMINISTRATION The Corbett Administration’s Long-Term Care Commission is convening hearings across PA to ascertain the state of long-term care in the Commonwealth.  Although the quality of care and availability of resources (staff and financial) will be discussed, the hearings also present an opportunity to present views on long-term care insurance as a means to sustain a person’s financial independence which in turn saves tax dollars in the Medicaid program.  The PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) has made this a priority, seeking to show the Commission some of the impediments that hinder LTC … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 10th Issue April 14, 2014

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. A TRULY BUSY INSURANCE WEEK Both House and Senate acted on a variety of insurance bills including: The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee approved Senate Bill 1329 (White-R-Indiana) to update the PA Life & Health Guaranty Association which pays claims in case of a liquidated entity.  Included was a provision to increase the payment cap to $500,000 (now $300,000) The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee also: –          Approved Senate Bill 594 (McIlhinney-R-Bucks) limiting cost-sharing by health insurance companies.  The bill states that an insurer may not impose a co-payment or coinsurance that exceeds an insured’s primary care physician … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 9th Issue April 7, 2014

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.  SENATE COMMITTEE HEARS EXCHANGE NAVIGATOR TESTIMONY On April 2, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee heard testimony from supporters and opponents of Senate Bill 1268 sponsored by Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair), a measure that would require registration and criminal background checks for navigators, certified application counselors and other in-person assisters.  PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) said that no one knew how many individuals were “facilitating” enrollment into the exchange and that there was the risk of consumer harm since they have access to personal information such as Social Security numbers and could be tempted to misuse that … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 8th Issue March 24, 2014

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. WAGNER WINS YORK SPECIAL SENATE ELECTION On March 18, conservative activist and business owner Scott Wagner won the special election in York County for the York County Senate seat vacated by former Senator Michael Waugh who was named executive director of the Farm Show.  This fiercely contested special election included Rep. Ron Miller (R-York), Democrat Linda Small and write-in Scott Wagner.  Wagner will fill out the rest of Waugh’s term to November 30, 2014.  Wagner and Miller will face off again in the Republican primary in May if Miller decides to continue his candidacy. Miller did not re-file … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 7th Issue March 17, 2014

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.   NAVIGATOR HEARING ON APRIL 2 The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee is convening a hearing April 2 in Harrisburg on Navigators, certified application counselors et al and specifically will air perspectives on Senate Bill 1268 (Eichelberger-R-Blair).  Testimony will include the PA Insurance Department which did not support SB 1268’s House counterpart, House Bill 1522 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill), the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU), two Navigators, and a video conference with PA Rep. Joe Pitts, chair of the health subcommittee of the Energy & Commerce Committee that deals with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  SB 1268 follows: … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 6th Issue March 10, 2014

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.   NAVIGATOR BILL INTRODUCED On March 7, Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair) introduced Senate Bill 1268, a measure requiring that Navigators, certified application counselors and others doing Navigator-type work register with the PA Insurance Department.  It joins House Bill 1522 (Tobash-R-Schuylkill) which had passed the House Health Committee earlier in the session.  Although it is the Number One priority of the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU), the legislation is not supported by the PA Insurance Department.  A Senate Banking & Insurance Committee hearing April 2 will discuss this bill and Navigators generally.  It appears that witnesses will include … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 5th Issue February 24, 2014

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. HEALTHY PA BID GOES TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT Governor Corbett has submitted the state’s request to the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval of an alternative to the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provision to expand Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).  The Corbett plan would: Allow those under  the PPACA threshold to enroll in the federally-facilitated exchange instead of Medicaid Consolidate numerous Medicaid plans into fewer standardized PPACA-compliant options Require a work search for non-disabled Medicaid recipients Details: http://listserv.dpw.state.pa.us/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind14&L=NEWS-RELEASES&P=16627 (press release); http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1598151&parentname=ObjMgr&parentid=2&mode=2  (Healthy PA specifics) McNULTY ASSUMES GALLAGHER INSURANCE POST Art … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 4th Issue February 17, 2014

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. CRANE APPOINTED BY CORBETT TO LONG-TERM CARE COMMISSION Insurance broker and past legislative chair of the PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) Scott Crane was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to the new Long-Term Care Commission, a body established through executive order to assist in mapping out improvements in how the state addresses long-term care needs of PA’s seniors.  Establishing the LTC Commission is part of the Governor’s Healthy PA initiative.  Having a licensed insurance producer appointed to a state-level body of this type has been a long-standing PAHU goal for several years. COMMISSION HEARS AGENT TESTIMONY The … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 3rd Issue February 10, 2014

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. BUDGET PRESENTED BY GOVERNOR FEBRUARY 4 Governor Corbett’s proposed State Budget for FY 2014-15 beginning July 1, 2014 spends $29.4 billion on state programs. Two areas receiving the lion’s share are Education (40.7%) and Health & Human Services including Public Welfare (40.1%).  Debt service (interest paid on PA’s obligations) is 3.8% of the entire Budget.  The $29.4 billion of state funds is supplemented by $24.2 billion of Federal Funds.  Add to that a variety of special funds and programs ($15.5 billion) and one is looking at total PA expenditures of $71.8 billion in the 2014-15 state operating budget.  … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 2nd Issue January 27, 2014

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. CHIP GETS FEDERAL REPRIEVE The Federal Government has agreed to Pennsylvania’s request to delay the forced-placement of 30,000 CHIP families into Medicaid, a provision of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  PA is the only state receiving this one-year delay.  The option to stay on CHIP or move into Medicaid will apply to children from families earning 100-133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.  Children from families earning more than 133% ($31,322 for a family of four) will remain in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. POLITICS Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) has been named the Republican candidate for … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 34th Issue *** December 22, 2014

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.   WOLF TRANSITION TEAM INDIVIDUALS NAMED Transition Committees have been announced for the various agencies.  For the Insurance Department, members are: –          Chair is T.J. Rooney, former State Representative who served on the House Insurance Committee –          Pat Brier, attorney, Myers, Brier & Kelly, Scranton (civil and criminal law, fraud, RICO) –          Patrick Casey, attorney, Elliot Greenleaf Law Firm, Scranton (medical malpractice) –          Christopher Drumm, AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania (Medicaid managed care plan) –          Jo Ann Lawer, government affairs, LancasterGeneralHospital –          Sam Marshall, President, Insurance Federation of PA (insurance company trade association) –          Silas Russell, government affairs, SEIU Healthcare … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 1st Issue January 13, 2014

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.   GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESUMES ACTIVITY This week the General assembly returns from its holiday recess to face a number of difficult issues.  The State Budget begins to take center stage because of a dismal mid-year budgetary assessment released by the Corbett Administration in December leading to the February 4 release of Governor Corbett’s proposed Fiscal Year 2014-15 State Budget.  Other issues with traction include work on pension reform and possible re-examination of liquor store privatization.  Among Senate calendar items are: –          Senate Bill 1189 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) providing for required bonds for public sector construction –          Senate Bill 1195 (Gordner-R-Columbia) … Read More

LEG REG REVIEW 2013, 35th Issue December 30, 2013

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 717/232-7005 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 this list.   TO ALL:  Thank you very much for your interest in Leg Reg Review and in the range of services offered by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES whether through lobbying, Continuing Education, or answering specific questions to help agents understand PPACA or other specific legislative/regulatory queries.  As you may know, my firm began in 1999 and has grown to meet the many needs of insurance agents and others in the insurance industry.  For 2014, our pledge is to continue being a responsive and relevant asset to your firm or practice.  If you have specific needs or … Read More