May 10, 2018

State Bills Address Hot-Button Health Care Issues

Proposed legislation under consideration by states across the nation reflects a wide range of economic and professional issues that could potentially affect radiology and the general practice of medicine.

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB 1064, surprise billing legislation that defines requirements out-of-network practitioners must meet to issue out-of-network bills to patients for medical services performed at network health care facilities. The legislation also outlines the protocol enrollees must follow to dispute surprise out-of-network bills and the process for arbitration proceedings. The bill’s provisions are effective as of December 31, 2018.

In Kansas, the House and Senate have approved HB 2028, also known as the Kansas Telemedicine Act. It applies patient privacy and confidentiality requirements of health care services delivered in-person to health care services delivered via telemedicine. The bill would prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage solely for telemedicine use. If approved by Gov. Jeff Colyer, portions of the act would go into effect July 1, 2018, with implementation of the remaining sections on January 1, 2019.

The Minnesota Senate has approved SB 3480, which proposes added provisions to existing price disclosure requirements for providers and health care plans. It would require providers to supply their patients with free, good faith estimates of allowable payments it accepts from insurers for specified medical services. For consumers without private or public coverage, the provider would be required to disclose the average allowable reimbursement from third-party payers for specified care. And, it would require providers to disclose other types of fees or charges consumers may have to pay after receiving care. The bill was sent to the House for further consideration. If approved by the House and Gov. Mark Dayton, the bill would be effective July 1, 2019.

Missouri’s House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee is reviewing HB 1258, which requires health insurance carriers to operate new health care cost saving incentive programs. Insurers would be obligated to reward consumers with at least 50 percent of the savings secured from their selection and use of medical care services that cost less than the average amount allowable from the carrier’s network providers. Enrollees could be rewarded with cash payments or credits to their annual deductible or out-of-pocket limit.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed SB 1475, a bill that creates the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission. It will review each occupational or professional licensing act in the state at least once every four years and will make recommendations to the legislature. The bill, effective on July 1, 2018, also provides qualification requirements for certain positions on the commission.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed SB 367, a bill that would have required health insurers that cover intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to also reimburse providers for hypofractionated proton therapy prescribed by a physician. Haslam recently signed SB 1869, which authorizes certain insureds or other persons entitled to benefits under a policy to assign their benefits to a health care provider. The bill establishes certain requirements, as well as governs the right of health care facilities to collect out-of-network charges.