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Around the PIA Western Alliance States

Posted By Staff reporter, Tuesday, March 19, 2019



PTSD Comp Bill

 Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed a bill into law to give workers’ compensation to first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The responders — says the bill — must prove they have a mental injury related to an event they experience while on the job.


The new law says the responder must be “examined and subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress injury by a psychologist” or similar medical professional. Clear and convincing evidence of PTSD must be demonstrated to get the designation.


Source link: Business Insurance


Medicare Workshops to be Offered in Burley

 A pair of Medicare Workshops for individuals turning 65 and those approaching Medicare eligibility will be held Monday, March 18, at the Burley Public Library, 1300 Miller Ave., Burley. 


The first of the two free sessions will run from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by an evening workshop from 5 to 7 p.m. Caregivers, those interested in learning how Medicare works, and individuals not eligible for Medicare are encouraged to attend and learn about other health plan options from a local enrollment counselor.


The Medicare workshops 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 either workshop, please contact the SHIBA Helpline at 1-800-247-4422.  Walk-ins are also welcome.


New Mexico

Recreational Marijuana: The New Mexico Senate is rapidly acting on a recreational marijuana bill passed by the House. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor, it will be legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana to use recreationally. You must — however — be 21 or over.

There will be an up-to-17% tax on the sale of pot to consumers.


Source link: Insurance Journal



Health Care Funding

 Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2010 into law. The bill is the first piece of her priority legislative proposal for sustainable, long-term health care funding to ensure Oregonians have access to affordable health coverage.


“House Bill 2010 is a significant step forward in ensuring every single Oregon has access to affordable health coverage,” said Governor Brown. “But HB 2010 only covers a portion of what we need for our health care system. So, as we celebrate today, we need to immediately turn our focus to filling the rest of the Oregon Health Plan funding gap.”


House Bill 2010 includes:


  A hospital assessment, generating $98 million for the Oregon Health Plan (Oregon's Medicaid program)

  A health insurance assessment and managed care tax, generating $334 million for the Oregon Health Plan and the Oregon Reinsurance Program, which helps stabilize insurance rates for individuals who buy coverage through the private market

  To provide the rest of the needed funding, Governor Brown has proposed an $2-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax, a tax on e-cigarettes, and the creation of an assessment on employers that do not provide affordable coverage to their workers.


“Securing this funding package will ensure Oregonians continue to get the health care coverage they need to thrive and will enable a balanced budget for the Oregon Health Plan for the next six years,” Governor Brown said.



Costco & $3.6 Million in Taxes

 NW Re Limited, of Phoenix, has settled (PDF, 3.6 MB) with Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to pay $3.6 million in unpaid premium taxes, penalties, interest and a fine. NW Re’s sole insured and parent company is Costco Wholesale Corp., headquartered in Issaquah, Wash.


NW Re self-reported its unauthorized activity in December 2018 as part of Kriedler’s project to identify all captives that insure assets in Washington state. It provided deductible reimbursement for Costco’s liability and workers’ compensation from 2000 until 2019 without authorization.


It paid $2.4 million in unpaid premium taxes and $1.2 million in fines, tax penalties and interest on March 8.


Kreidler announced a project in December 2018 to identify all captives doing business in Washington state. Captives must self-report before June 30, 2020 to be eligible for reduced fines and premium tax penalties.


Fines and penalties increase every six months for captive insurers that fail to self-report, starting July 1, 2019. Captives that do not self-report before June 30, 2020, will face the maximum fines and tax penalties.


Kreidler’s office has collected about $4.4 million in agreements with captive insurers. He reached a settlement of $876,820 with Cypress, the captive insurer for Microsoft Corp., in August 2018.


State law requires that when risk is insured in Washington state, it be done through an admitted insurer or through an unauthorized insurer placed through a licensed surplus line broker. State law also requires insurance companies to pay a 2 percent tax based on their written premiums. The tax revenue is sent to the state general fund to pay for government operations. 


Source link: Washington Department of Insurance


Opioid Lawsuit

 Washington State has become the 10th state to sue the major distributors of opioids. The suit accuses the distributors of making billions off the sale of opioids while all the while ignoring the thousands becoming addicted to the drugs.


Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the suit last week in King County Superior Court. The suit involves:


  McKesson Corp.

  Cardinal Health Inc.

  AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp


Washington is also one of many states suing Purdue Pharma.


Ferguson contends the drug firms brought oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids into the state and failed to comply with requirements that spots suspicious orders destined for the illegal drug market. “For years these companies illegally shipped suspicious orders into our state,” Ferguson said. “Their conduct, put quite simply, fueled the state's opioid epidemic.”


Ferguson notes that between 2006 and 2017 over 8,000 people in Washington died from opioid overdoses, auto crashes or shootings. While all that was happening, he said the drug distributors continued to pour more than two-billion pills into the state.


As it stands now there are over 1,000 lawsuits filed against the manufacturers, distributors and others involved in the crisis.


Source link: Q13 FOX

Tags:  Around the PIA Western Alliance States  Industry news  Insurance Content 

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