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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Arizona — Uber Not Criminally Liable for Crash: Yavapai County prosecutors are not going to go after Uber for the March 2018 crash in Tempe that killed a pedestrian. However, it is recommended that the vehicle’s “driver,” Rafaela Vasquez be referred to Tempe’s police department for another look.

He was looking at a TV show when the crash occurred and could end up being prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter.

California — Russian River Flood Information: In the wake of record rains and recent flooding Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara dispatched Department of Insurance staff to Sonoma County to assist with recovery efforts. With many Californians not aware that traditional homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, he urged homeowners to consider purchasing flood insurance.

Department staff are available to answer questions through Saturday, March 9 at the Local Assistance Center in Guerneville or by phone at 800-927-4357 following the winter storms and Russian River flooding that inundated 2,600 homes and businesses and damaged or destroyed many automobiles.

“Climate change is driving more extreme weather events than ever, including floods,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “We want to make sure people have the coverage they need before the next storm puts their home at risk. Having flood insurance may be the difference between recovering quickly from a catastrophic event or suffering devastating financial losses.”

Flood insurance is available through the Federal Flood Insurance Program and must be in force for 30 days prior to a flood, in most cases.

February was the sixth wettest month on record, and it is not too late for homeowners to assess their risk for flooding and ensure they have the coverage they need to protect their home which is typically a family’s most valuable financial asset.

The department has a number of resources to help consumers with insurance coverage or claim questions. Consumers with questions or needing assistance should call the consumer hotline at 800-927-4357.

Source link: The California Department of Insurance

 

Idaho — Medicare Workshop to be Offered in Genesee: A free Medicare Workshop for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held Wednesday, March 13, from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Genesee Community Library, 140 E. Walnut, Genesee.  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 workshop, please contact the SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-247-4422.

 

Montana — Tester & Asbestos Ban: Montana Senator Jon Tester and eight other U.S. Senators have sponsored a bill to ban the mining, importation, use and sale of asbestos. A companion bill was introduced in the House. The number of co-sponsors there totals 21.

Experts say this one has a much better chance of success than previous bills.

In his support of the bill, Tester said, “Montanans know all too well the lasting damage of asbestos exposure — just ask folks in Libby and Troy. Banning this harmful substance will protect our families and prevent future suffering and loss of life.”

More than 200 deaths in Troy and Libby have been linked to asbestos.

He’s joined by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley who added, “It's outrageous that in the year 2019 asbestos is still allowed in the United States. While the EPA fiddles, Americans are dying.”

While asbestos is illegal in 60-some countries, it is still legal in the U.S.

Source link: Independent Record

 

Oregon — Prescription Transparency: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is ready to hear about prescription drug price increases from consumers, health insurance companies, and drug manufacturers.

The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (HB 4005), from the 2018 Legislative Session, established Oregon’s drug price transparency program. The new law requires prescription drug manufacturers and health insurance companies to report specific drug price increases to the department’s Division of Financial Regulation.

The program staff are ready to hear from consumers as well.

All Oregonians are encouraged to report an increase in the cost of their prescription drugs to the division one of three ways:

Email rx.prices@oregon.gov

Call 888-877-4894 (toll free)

Visit dfr.oregon.gov/drugtransparency (online reporting form available later this month)

We are excited to bring one of the nation’s first prescription drug price transparency programs to Oregonians,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner. “It will help people better understand why drug prices increase, and help legislators make informed decisions on how to control rising costs.”

Consumer reports and the pricing of new prescription drugs will be made available as soon as information is received and reviewed. Insurer and drug manufacturer price increase reports will be available later this fall.

The division will provide annual reports to Oregon State Legislature based on the information provided by consumers, and the data reported by health insurers and prescription drug manufacturers.

This program is designed to report drug price increases only. If a consumer has a problem with their health insurance or prescription drug coverage they should contact our consumer advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free). To learn more about Oregon’s Prescription Drug Price Transparency Program, visit dfr.oregon.gov/drugtransparency.

 

Washington — From the Department of Insurance: Surprise billing occurs when you're treated for an emergency or scheduled procedure at an in-network hospital or surgery facility and are seen by an out-of-network provider. In addition to your expected out-of-pocket costs, you also get a bill for the difference between what your insurer has agreed to pay that provider and what they believe the service was worth.

Some types of providers, including anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists, and labs may not be contracted with your insurer even though they provide services at an in-network hospital or facility. This practice is also called “balance billing,” however, some balance billing is not a surprise. For example, if you're treated by a provider that you know is not in your plan's network, you shouldn't be surprised to receive a bill for their services, on top of what your plan covers.

Kreidler's proposed legislation - 2SHB 1065/SB 5031 (www.leg.wa.gov) passes the House of Representatives

Commissioner Mike Kreidler has proposed legislation that would prevent people from getting a surprise medical bill when they seek medical services from an in-network facility, but are treated by an out-of-network provider. If an insurer and provider cannot agree on a price for the covered services, they can go to binding arbitration but cannot bill the consumer for the amount in dispute.

His bill passed the House on March 4 with a strong bipartisan vote of 84-13. It's now in the Senate and must be voted out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee by April 3.

Tell us about your surprise bill

If you or someone you know has received a surprise bill, we’d like to hear from you. Email us your story. We may also follow-up with you to see if you'd like to file a complaint about your surprise billing issue.

See what happened to Jamie Hansen of La Center, WA when she sought emergency care for her son, Ryan.

Source link: Washington Department of Insurance

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Insurance Industry  Insurance News  Weekly Industry News 

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