By Sunee Mickle,
Director of Government Relations,
& Lindsey Scott, Intern, Government Relations,
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
May 18, 2010
Ending the 2010 Legislative Veto Session
The Kansas Legislature’s veto session wrapped up May 11, after covering a handful of issues. A majority of this veto session was spent on tax and budget issues; there was very little focus on health insurance legislation.
Sales Tax Increase Passed
The House passed a sales tax increase May 11 which will finance the Senate's Mega/Omnibus Budget Bill; after multiple vote changes and a late arrival from Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, the bill was approved, 64-61. The bill was sent to Gov. Mark Parkinson shortly following the vote to be signed into law. A sales tax increase will raise a total of $339 million, including $20.5 million to the highway fund next fiscal year. The legislation contains:
- A 1-cent sales tax increase effective July 1; this will change the current sales tax from 5.3 percent to 6.3 percent until July 1, 2013.
- The sales tax will drop to 5.7 percent July 1, 2013, with 0.4 percent tax going to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
- $15 million in food sales tax rebates.
- Extended Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) until 2013.
Enrolled Health Care Legislation
Despite the legislature’s focus on budget and tax issues this session, there were several health bills passed and enrolled into law. Below is a list of the enrolled bills that BCBSKS followed throughout the session:
- Autism Mandate and Oral Chemotherapy Parity (HB 2160)
Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, the State Employees Health Plan (SEHP) is required to cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders from birth up to 19 years of age. This is considered a “test track” to see if this mandate should apply to all individual and group health insurance plans. Annual benefit caps include coverage:
- Not to exceed $36,000/yr- Individuals from birth up to 7 years of age
- Not to exceed $27,000/yr- Individuals 7 years of age to 19 years of age
This treatment is still subject to annual deductibles, coinsurance and any utilization or benefit limitations. Following a year of autism coverage, the SEHP must report the utilization for coverage. If this mandate were to pass, autism coverage would begin for all individual or group health policies delivered, amended or renewed on or after July 1, 2013.
The Oral Chemotherapy Parity provisions require all group and individual health insurance plans that include a prescription drug benefit to cover orally administered anticancer medications on a basis no less favorable than intravenously administered or injected cancer medications that are covered under medical benefits. This mandate will begin for new or renewed policies on or after July 1, 2011.
Clean Indoor Air Act (HB 2221)
HB 2221 prohibits smoking in public places, taxicabs, limousines, a place of employment and any enclosed area. This legislation exempts casino gaming floors, adult care homes, tobacco shops, private residences and a few other entities. The Act goes into effect July 1, 2010.
Life Insurance (Sub. for HB 2345)
Sub. for HB 2345 amends the law to allow the incorporation of long-term care insurance into annuities. This would enact new law and amend the Kansas Consumer Protection Act which creates provisions applying to insurance settlement payments for damages on property subject to a mortgage.
Genetic Testing (HB 2501)
HB 2501 amends the requirements for the liability of mortgage guaranty insurance companies. It also amends the Kansas Uninsurable Health Insurance Plan Act and updates the effective of risk-based capital instructions. Furthermore, the legislation establishes additional restrictions to the genetic testing law and amends the Kansas Insurance Score Act.
Naturopathic Doctors and Physical Therapists (H Sub SB 83)
The Naturopathic Doctors Licensing Act changes this provider group’s status from a registrant with the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to licensee. This legislation also creates new licensure categories for physical therapists. Physical therapists will have the additions of an exempt license and a federally active license. H Sub SB 83 goes into effect July 1, 2011.
Open Records Act (SB 369)
SB 369 amends the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) to reconcile amendments that were made during the 2009 session. This bill also states that on or after July 1, 2010 an insurance department self evaluated audit is privileged information and is not admissible in any legal action.
Non-Covered Dental Services Contract Provision (SB 389)
SB 389 prohibits dental insurers from monitoring and setting rates for non-covered dental services.
- Discount Cards (SB 508)
SB 508 requires any supplier who sells healthcare discount cards to file annually with the secretary of state of the intention to sell the discount card and maintain a surety bond in the amount of $50,000.
New Cancer Clinical Trial Regulation
Kansas Insurance Department issued a new regulation involving Cancer Clinical Trials, the details of this regulation are as follows:
The Cancer Clinical Trial mandate was passed and will prohibit discriminatory practice in the insurance and health fields towards cancer patients. Although insurance companies are not required to pay for the trials, they may not discriminate based on the following:
- The insured or prospective insured has been diagnosed with cancer and accepted into phase I, phase II, phase III, or phase IV clinical trial for cancer.
- The treating physician providing covered health care services to insured recommends participation in the clinical trial on the basis that the participation could hold a meaningful potential benefit for the insured.
- The insurer must provide coverage for all routine patient care costs associated with the provision of health care services, drugs, etc. that would otherwise be covered under the insurance policy.
Industry Promotes Colon Cancer Screening
On March 9, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger announced that her agency would be joining forces with the Kansas Association of Health Plans (KAHP) and the American Cancer Society to help promote colon cancer screenings. In order to fight colon cancer, Praeger reminded Kansans that colon cancer screenings are a covered benefit for members of individual and group health plans. Blue Cross was involved in the discussion of this issue and is a member of KAHP.
Although the last day of the veto session was May 11, the legislature will have its official closing, Sine Die, May 28. We will continue to update you regarding the official closing of the Kansas Legislative session.
Stay informed about the Kansas Legislature and health insurance issues by visiting the following websites:
Follow the Kansas Legislature website at: www.kslegislature.org
Learn more about federal health insurance reform from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas at:
Or the Kansas Insurance Department at: www.ksinsurance.org/