Agents' Advocate Bulletin
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
PIA Agents’ Advocate Bulletin
June 26, 2017
Legislature Close to Adjournment
The Oregon legislative session is close to adjournment. They have been unable to find agreement on taxes. The House, however, has passed HB 2030 to reign in a “pass-through” tax break, which is controversial. The 2013 Grand Bargain was a bipartisan agreement that included small business tax cuts and included reforms to the state's broken public pension system.
HB 5026 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB5026/Enrolled
The Oregon Health Authority’s budget bill (HB 5026) has passed both chambers. Part of OHA’s budget package includes a comprehensive provider assessment created in HB 2391 that will help fund the Oregon Health Plan for the upcoming biennium as federal support for the Medicaid expansion population decreases.
The provider assessment and the main budget bill include:
- More than $650 million in revenue to help fund the Oregon Health Plan for the upcoming biennium as federal support for the Medicaid expansion population decreases. This will ensure the continued coverage of 350,000 Oregonians who joined OHP as part of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.
- $5 million to help fund Public Health Modernization, which ensures basic public health protections critical to the health of all Oregonians.
- Funding to maintain operation of the Junction City campus of Oregon State Hospital at current capacity.
The legislature is still waiting for the final draft of the transportation plan. There is some doubt that the bill will pass.
PIAO/I will publish a list of all the legislation it was tracking when the session finally closes.
Insurance Industry Does Well
The industry was able to pass or successfully amend a number of bills this session:
- SB 331 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB331/Enrolled
Permits insurer in lieu of renewing policy to offer insured replacement policy if insurer provides notice to insured and insurance producer at least 45 days before date on which policy subject to renewal expires.
- SB 332 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB332/Enrolled
Provides that prohibition against person offering rebate of premium does not prohibit giving, as form of advertising, as promotional program or as promotional material, prize, goods, wares, merchandise, articles or property with aggregate value that does not exceed $100 in calendar year to insureds other than persons for whom insurer issues health insurance or health benefit plan.
- SB 510 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB510/Enrolled
Requires insurance companies to enter into agreements with Department of Justice to provide information and financial records to department for claimants who are obligors of past due support.
- SB 985 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB985/Enrolled
Exempts insurers that transact certain classes of commercial insurance from requirement to file rates or policy forms.
- SB 986 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB986/Enrolled
Permits insurance licensee to not provide annual notices of licensee's policies and practices with respect to disclosing personal information if licensee provides personal information to nonaffiliated third parties only in accordance with applicable law and does not change policies and practices that licensee last disclosed to customer.
Insurance agents helped kill SB 977 relating to non-competition agreements, but there may be a work group during the interim.
PIAO/I helped kill a bad faith bill (HB 2858 - see below).
A number of workers’ comp bills passed successfully:
- HB 2192 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2192/Enrolled
Increases term of Workers' Compensation Management-Labor Advisory Committee members from two years to three years.
- HB 2335 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2335/Enrolled
Permits Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services, at request of party to proceeding to close workers' compensation claim, to appoint as many as three members to panel of medical arbiters in accordance with criteria director sets by rule.
- HB 2336 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2336/Enrolled
Permits Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to appoint claims processing agent for self-insured employer or self-insured employer group that defaults or cancels employer's or group's certification or that director decertifies.
- HB 2337 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2337/Enrolled
Increases workers' compensation benefits for permanent total disability and permanent partial disability. A engrossed version not available yet.
- HB 2338 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2338/Enrolled
Specifies only one monthly benefit rate for children of deceased worker and uniform duration of benefits for children under 19 years of age. A engrossed version not available yet.
Here are some notable bills relating to health insurance that passed:
- SB 271 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB271/Enrolled
Modifies definition of small employer for purposes of group health benefit plans.
- HB 2340 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2340/Enrolled
Authorizes Department of Consumer and Business Services to permit insurer that discontinued offering health benefit plans in service area less than five years previously to resume offering health benefit plans in service area.
- HB 2341 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2341/Enrolled
Updates Insurance Code provisions applicable to health insurance in accordance with federal requirements.
Here are some of the bills relating to driving that passed:
- SB 35 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB35/Enrolled
Increases threshold amount that must be met before person is required to submit motor vehicle accident report.
- SB 930 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB930/Enrolled
Specifies that registered owner of vehicle may black out or obscure residence address, business address, mailing address or vehicle address shown on registration card and on proof of insurance or other current proof of compliance.
- HB 2403 https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB2403/Enrolled
Requires drivers to exchange insurance information after motor vehicle accident.
‘Not specified’ Gender Choice Coming to Driver Licenses
Beginning on July 3, 2017 Oregon residents will have the option to mark their sex as “not specified” on their application for a driver license, instruction permit or identification card. Under a new administrative rule approved June 15 by the Oregon Transportation Commission, card holders who do not wish to identify as either male or female will have a third option when they obtain, renew or replace their license, instruction permit or ID card at Oregon DMV. An X will appear instead of M or F in Oregon driver records and on the driver license, instruction permit or ID card.
OSFM Celebrates Centennial
On 6/20/17 I attended on behalf of PIAO/I the centennial celebration of the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The celebration started with bagpipes and drums, flag bearers and a Dalmatian on a red leash. Several dignitaries spoke, including their liason from the Governor's Office. OSFM was established in 1917, in part by insurance companies, and was originally housed in the Insurance Commissioner's Office.
Death of Bad Faith Bill Illustrates Value of PAC
HB 2858 was this session’s bad faith bill, which would have severly affected the insurance industry. The key “no” vote on the House committee was a new legislator, Rep. Janelle Bynum (Democrat/HD 51).
Rep. Bynum participated in PIAO/I’s Insurance Education Program for new candidates in the summer of 2016 at Stamm Stuart Bybee Insurance Agency in Gresham. We spoke to her about the issue of bad faith during that program. When HB 2858 arose in 2017, Mike Bybee testified against it.
Our Oregon PAC supports the Insurance Education Program. HB 2858 is a fine example of how valuable it can be. Our PAC relies on your contributions to make the program successful. Please donate today by sending a check to PIA Oregon PAC, Western Alliance, 3205 NE 78th St. Suite 104, Vancouver WA 98665. Donate by credit card here.
PIAO/I Oregon Lobbyist
P.O. Box 1517
Wilsonville, OR 97070