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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By staff reporter, Tuesday, January 22, 2019

California

Lara & Federal Shutdown: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara strongly urges that insurance companies assist Californians who are affected by the Federal Government shutdown and may face delays in paying premiums or cancellation of policies. The Commissioner is asking insurers to be patient and work with these California residents during this difficult time.

 “The Federal shutdown is putting Californians at unnecessary risk of losing insurance coverage over late or unpaid bills,” said Commissioner Lara. “I am asking insurers to partner with me to protect our federal workers and contractors in California to give them some peace of mind during this time of uncertainty.”

The partial shutdown of the Federal Government is negatively affecting many California consumers, specifically those employed by the Federal Government and contractors who are not being paid their regular salary or receiving reimbursements when normally due. This delay in payment affects these consumers’ ability to pay their bills on time including insurance coverage, mortgages or other loans.

Commissioner Lara asks insurers to take into consideration the difficulties California consumers are facing and will continue to face until the current shutdown has ended. He urges insurers to relax due dates for premium payments, extend grace periods, waive late fees and penalties, allow forbearance with regard to the cancellation/non-renewal of policies, allow payment plans for premium payments, and exercise judicious efforts to assist affected policyholders and work with them to make sure that their insurance policies do not lapse.

Source link: California Department of Insurance

Idaho

Medicare Workshops: Free Medicare Workshops for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility have been scheduled in two Idaho cities.

The first is Thursday, January 24 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Syringa Hospital Soltman Center, 600 W. Main St., Grangeville, Idaho. 

The second is Monday, January 28, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, 415 6th St., Lewiston, Idaho.

Caregivers and all those interested in learning how Medicare works are encouraged to attend.

 The workshop will be led by Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a unit of the Idaho Department of Insurance. SHIBA presenters will introduce the various parts of Medicare and explain some of the vocabulary associated with the program. 

Topics to be covered include:

• Timeframes for enrolling in Medicare

• Enrollment periods for Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans

• How the different parts of Medicare work together – and when they don’t

 To register for the workshops, please contact the SHIBA office at 1-800-247-4422.

Nevada

Highway Fatalities: the Department of Public Safety is worried. Nevada’s highway fatalities rose to a 10-year high. The department said 331 people died 2018 in 301 crashes.

Department spokesman Andrew Bennett said most of them were in Clark County. “In 2008 we were at 324, then we dropped to the mid 200s from about 2009 to 2013 and we then we saw a steady climb into the 300s in 2014,” he said. “So, 331 is on the high end in the last decade, but we have seen a 4 percent population growth over the past two years in the state as well.”

Pedestrian deaths in Nevada dropped from 98 in 2017 o 80 last year. Bennett said it is the first decrease in nine years.

Source link: Insurance Journal

Washington

The Commissioner’s 2019 legislative priorities: Surprise billing (HB 1065 and SB 5031 "Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services")

This legislation will stop patients from getting an additional bill, after the patient’s health plan has paid the normal rate and the patient has paid their portion (such as a co-pay) when they receive medical care for an emergency at an out-of-network emergency room and when they have an approved surgery at an in-network hospital or surgery center but receive services, such as anesthesiology, radiology or lab services, from a provider who is out-of-network.

The prime sponsor of HB 1065 is Rep. Cody. The prime sponsor of SB 5031 is Sen. Rolfes.

HB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 181.46 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 23, 2019, 1:30pm

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 176.78 KB)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Referred to Health & Long Term Care Committee

Disaster resilience working group (HB 1040 and SB 5106 "Concerning the creation of a work group to study and make recommendations on natural disaster mitigation and resiliency activities")

This legislation will create a work group composed of legislators, state agencies, insurance companies and other key stakeholders to review and make recommendations on how to best coordinate and improve disaster resiliency work in Washington State, including possibly creating a central place for coordination and planning.

The prime sponsor of HB 1040 is Rep. Reeves. The prime sponsor of SB 5106 is Sen. Das.

  HB complete bill language (PDF, 68.24 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 16, 2019, 8:00am/Executive Session, January 22, 2019, 10:00am/Executive Session, January 23, 2019, 8:00am

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Public Hearing, January 15, 2019, 8:00am/Executive Action, January 17, 2019, 8:30am

Medicare access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) (SB 5032 "Concerning Medicare supplemental insurance policies")

This legislation will align Washington law with recent changes in the Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) statutes, which seek to prevent overutilization of services. Washington must have these changes in place by January 1, 2020. The two key changes are:

As of January 1, 2020, new enrollees will no longer be able to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan which provides coverage for the Part B deductible. This does not impact existing enrollees.

Allow but not require companies to offer a new Plan G with a High Deductible option. Currently, only Plan F has an additional High Deductible option.

The prime sponsor of SB 5032 is Sen. Cleveland.

   SB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 86.39 KB)

   SB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   SB Status: Public Hearing, January 18, 2019, 8:00am

Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) Separate Funding (HB 1069 "Concerning the creation of the insurance fraud surcharge account")

This legislation will create a dedicated funding stream for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s (OIC) Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU), who are charged with investigating and preventing insurance fraud. The legislation will also increase that funding to allow CIU to keep up with the increasing amount of fraud referrals by adding five new staff. The funding will be provided by dedicating a portion of the premium surcharge already collected by the OIC for CIU’s exclusive use.

The prime sponsor of HB 1069 is Rep. Stanford

   HB complete bill language (leg.wa.gov) (PDF, 82.11 KB)

   HB bill history (leg.wa.gov)

   HB Status: Public Hearing, January 16, 2019, 1:30pm/Executive Session, January 18, 2019, 9:00am

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Kreidler and Innovators: Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is offering innovators in the insurance industry a new way to engage his office about potential products that may benefit consumers.

Kreidler announced an insurance innovation portal, Resources for insurance industry innovators.

Click here to access the portal that includes guidelines, a hotline and web form. This is designed to encourage companies, agents and insurance startups to contact his office early in the development of new products.

Kreidler noted that changing social and technological trends have created an opportunity for insurance entrepreneurs. 

“The insurance industry is constantly evolving and we want to make sure innovators understand the laws that guide insurance regulation in Washington,” Kreidler said. “We are eager to work with innovators as they prepare to bring products to market. We’re committed to fair and efficient regulation.”

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates Washington’s $42 billion insurance industry. For more information, please visit www.insurance.wa.gov

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  insurance content  insurance industry 

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