California — Opioid Study: The Workers Compensation Ratings Bureau (WCRB) did a study of injured workers who use opioids and aren’t weaned off them. They have higher drug costs and the cost of treatment is higher.
The report’s title is Study of Chronic Opioid Use and Weaning in California Workers’ Compensation. Since 2012 claims with opioid prescriptions dropped considerably. However, opioid prescriptions are still a very high portion of the pharmaceutical costs of the state’s work comp system.
Here’s what the study found:
• Opioid use listed as chronic cost nine-times more in physician services than the average claim.
• The chronic use of opioids builds gradually and hits a threshold at about 11 months
• Half the claims in the study were able to wean themselves within 24 months
• Those not weaned have higher drug costs and higher treatment volumes
• The weaning process is gradual and is mixed with non-drug treatments and non-narcotic drugs
Source link: Insurance Journal
California — No to Single Payer System: California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said a panel has been created to study to find ways to lower health care costs and how to reduce the number of people uninsured. What isn’t in the study is the single payer health care system passed last year by the Senate and a bill that’s popular with Democrats and the California Association of Nurses.
Source link: Insurance Journal
California — Southern California Edison Sued: A group of ranchers in Ventura County claim Southern California Edison equipment caused the Thomas Fire — California’s largest ever — and killed their cattle and destroyed their property. A lawsuit has been filed.
This is on top of the suit filed last month by 300 residents, farmers and businesses who accused SCE of the negligence that led to the fire and the mudslides that followed.
SCE responded and spokesman David Song said, “The Thomas fire obviously has had an impact on many individuals, but the origin and cause of the fire continue to be under investigation and no report has yet been issued. This and other lawsuits are not based on findings related to an investigation. Therefore, it would be premature for SCE to comment on the origin or cause of the recent wildfires.”
Source link: Associated Press
California — Tax Reform & Insurers: This from the California Department of Insurance.
Insurance companies writing in California were sent a Notice today reminding them that under Proposition 103 their rates must not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory.
The recent revision to the Federal Tax Schedule for 2018 reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. As a result some insurers, whose rates were based on the 35 percent corporate tax rate may now be charging excessive rates. In California the prior approval process that applies to property and casualty insurance rates limits insurer profits and rates. The Notice reminds insurance companies with excessive rates that they are obligated to file a rate change application with the department to ensure they are complying with Proposition 103.
"I am working to make sure insurance companies are not taking advantage of their policyholders," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "In California insurer profits are limited under Proposition 103, therefore the savings they realize from the tax reductions should result in those savings being passed on to policyholders through lower premiums."
In January, Commissioner Jones directed the department to commence a regulatory review of insurers' rates due to the federal corporate tax rate cuts. The commissioner also modified the Prior-Approval Rate Making Regulations to properly reflect the change in tax savings from the corporate tax rate cuts.
Nevada — Auto Insurance Hikes: One in three people in Nevada — or something like 600,000 people — will see a 9% hike in auto insurance this year. That’s because the state raised the basic minimum levels of bodily injury and property damaged coverage on policies.
Those hikes will go into effect on July 1st and could hit about $10 a month more in premiums for those with just the minimum coverages. The 15/30/10 coverage — $15,000 bodily injury coverage, $30,000 per accident and $10,000 per accident in property damage will go to $25,000, $50,000 and $20,000 or 25/50/20.
Those maintaining minimum coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists might see a monthly premium jump of $45.
Source link: Associated Press
Oregon — From the Oregon Department of Insurance: The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recently adopted the following rule:
ID 04-2018: Health carrier reporting requirements for alternative payment methodologies offered to PCPCHs
Rules affected: OARs 836-053-1520, 836-053-1525, 836-053-1530
To establish health carrier reporting requirements related to alternative payment methodologies.
These rules implement requirements of Chapter 489 of Oregon Law 2017 (SB 934) which require insurers participating in a national primary care medical home payment model, conducted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CPC+), that includes performance-based incentive payments for primary care to offer a similar alternative payment methodology (APM) to all Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes (PCPCHs) that serve their members.
Filed: March 9, 2018
Effective: March 9, 2018
Permanent Administrative Order — http://dfr.oregon.gov/laws-rules/Documents/id04-2018_rule-order.pdf
For more information, please visit the Division's website:
Washington — Hanford Work Comp Coverage: Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill to give workers’ compensation coverage to Hanford’s workers. It will cover the nuclear and clean-up site coverage for cancer and other illnesses.
Source link: Business Insurance
Washington — Premera Windfall: From the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said Premera Blue Cross of Washington (Premera) should use the bulk of the $390 million tax benefit it announced today to provide enhanced choice and lower costs for its policyholders in Washington’s health insurance market.
According to Premera’s 2017 annual statement, the company will receive previously accumulated tax benefits totaling $390 million. This is due to a change made under the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act that requires all Blue Cross Blue Shield companies to claim any previously unused accumulated tax credits. Additional tax changes, including a change to the corporate tax rate, may impact Premera and other insurers at a later date.
“I expect that Premera will live up to its commitment to help stabilize Washington state’s individual health insurance market by using this tax benefit to bolster services and keep premiums as low as possible for consumers,” Kreidler said.
“I welcome their plan to help stabilize the market in our state,” Kreidler added. “I also welcome Premera’s commitment made to me earlier this year to offer health plans in counties in 2019 that might not have any other insurer. I will closely review any premium proposals by Premera and other health insurers for 2019 to determine if they are taking appropriate action to keep costs for consumers as low as possible. I’m confident that Premera will use this tax benefit to help the people of the state of Washington by enhancing their capabilities to improve access and affordability of health insurance in our state – especially in the rural areas.”
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance