Governor Signs Medicaid Expansion & Vetoes Drug Price Bill: Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a bill to expand the state’s Medicaid program. He also signed a one that has a work requirement and increased premiums for those remaining on the state’s Medicaid program for over a year.
All together he signed nine bills that involve health. One of the bills requires the state to start a reinsurance program. The goal of that program is to cut premium costs for those using the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and reimburse insurers for high-cost claims.
A bill to reduce prescription drug prices by regulating the contracts companies can sign with pharmaceutical benefit managers hired to negotiate prices for pharmacies and manufacturers was vetoed.
Bullock said the bill would cause administrative costs to rise.
Source link: Independent Record
Filings: Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2020 individual and small group health insurance plans.
In the individual market, seven companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 3.2 percent decrease to an average 13.5 percent increase, for an average of 3.3 percent. In the small group market, nine companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 0.3 percent decrease to an average 13.1 percent increase, for an average of 8.7 percent. See the attached chart for the full list of rate change requests.
“It’s early in the process, but we are encouraged to see carriers providing more options to Oregonians by expanding into both rural and coastal communities, and the market stabilizing in spite of uncertainty at the federal level,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “Now it is time to start our open and thorough review process that allows Oregonians to provide input on the filings that affect them.”
Moderate rate increase requests, recent health insurance company financial statements, and expansion into additional counties by multiple carriers reveal that the Oregon health insurance market is stabilizing in spite of continued uncertainty at the federal level. The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market as well. It consistently lowers rates by 6 percent each year.
Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Financial Regulation on May 13. Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. The division must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.
The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.
Later this month, Oregonians will be able to compare their health plans and submit comments at www.oregonhealthrates.org
Public hearing dates will also be posted to the site.
Oregonians are encouraged to comment on rate change requests during the public comment period, which opens later this month and runs through early July. The public can submit comments online and during the public rate hearings.
Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced late June, and final decisions will be made in late July.
Kriedler Disaster Plan: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s proposal to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate disasters was signed into law yesterday by Gov. Jay Inslee. Senate Bill 5106 passed the House on April 12 with a 95-0 vote and the state Senate on April 22 with a 48-0 vote. The law takes effect on July 28.
The bill creates a work group represented by 27 organizations including legislators, state agencies, insurance companies, Tribal leaders, municipal groups and other key parties. The group will review and make recommendations on how to best coordinate and improve disaster resilience work in Washington state.
“I thank Sen. Mona Das, (D-Kent), and Rep. Kristine Reeves, (D-Federal Way), for sponsoring this important legislation,” Kreidler said. “This is a crucial first step in being prepared to mitigate disasters that we face in Washington state, including earthquakes, wildfires and flooding.”
““Washington state is prone to natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and wildfires,” Das said. “We’ve seen an increase in these events because of climate change. We need to act now to ensure we’re fully prepared.”
The work group will hold its first meeting in September. The group’s final report on its recommendations on whether Washington should have an ongoing resilience program is due in December 2020.
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance
Kreidler & Long Term Care: Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says signing House Bill 1087 into law is a good step toward helping Washington residents deal with the costs of long-term care. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill into law yesterday.
The legislation, better known as the Long Term Care Services and Support Trust Act (www.leg.wa.gov), would provide up to $36,500 in assistance toward long-term care costs. Washington residents will begin paying premiums through their workplace in January 2022.
Benefits will be available to qualified residents beginning January 2025.
Kreidler noted the new benefits can be combined with other options, such as long-term care insurance policies, to help pay for needed assistance.
“This program can help people avoid impoverishing themselves to get care in their older age,” Kreidler said. “Most people don’t even think of buying a long-term care policy until they are much older and the cost is prohibitive.
“This new program will have many more people paying in from a younger age. This will help keep costs down and provide many with greater options for long-term care in the latter part of their lives. This program offers some needed peace of mind.”
Source link: Washington Department of Insurance