Spring Session in Final Month… Bill List Shortens Dramatically

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2018 Legislative Update

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spring Session in Final Month… Bill List Shortens Dramatically

clip_image006Now into its final month, the 2018 Legislative Session is beginning to wind down – and the bill list has shortened dramatically.

The good news: MASI has helped defeat all legislation we considered to be dangerous to our industry, including many bills that would have burdened our employer members. We applaud our Insurance Chairmen in both the House and Senate, Gary Chism and Videt Carmichael, for their unwavering support each year. Legislation is now dead that would have placed unfunded mandates and burdens on our self-insured workers’ comp and health plans, including a mandate for fertility treatment coverage and a bill to remove the limits on workers’ comp benefits.

The bad news: MASI’s bills to help employers, such as the Workplace Wellness Tax Credit and the Urine Trouble Act, are now dead having failed to gain support in the Senate. In spite of the support of many individual senators, and widespread support in the House, Senate leadership did not allow the bills to move forward. Scroll down for more information.

MASI Lobbies to Restore Fiscal Authority to MWCC

clip_image008At left, MASI Executive Director Dan Gibson and MWCC Workers’ Comp Commissioner Beth Aldridge meet with Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke and Senator Josh Harkins in an effort to restore fiscal authority to the MWCC. HB789, unanimously passed by the House of Representatives but killed by leadership in the Senate, would have restored fiscal control to the MWCC and shielded the Administrative Expense Fund from being diverted to fund other agencies.

For our employer members, this is a big issue – and an expensive one. In 2016, SB2362 consolidated most state agencies, including the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission,  under the State General Fund. This action allowed the state to begin diverting funds from the MWCC Administrative Expense Fund for spending in other areas. This money, collected from self-insured employers, groups and insurance companies for the purpose of running the MWCC, is now no longer protected, and many thousands of dollars have been diverted to other agencies. 

As a result, the MWCC has increased assessments in order to remain solvent, and self-insured employers, groups and insurance companies are now having to pay more in annual assessments than they were paying before SB2362 was passed. In 2016, the assessment went from 1.55% of claims to 1.83% of claims. Last year the assessment was 1.80%. For our self-insured employers and groups, these increases, in excess of 15%, have been significant.

MASI has not given up on the issue however – and we will continue working with legislative leaders to address these funding challenges.

MASI Joins With MS Association Health-Underwriters for MAHU Legislative Day

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MASI was honored to host the MAHU Legislative Day for the second year in a row recently, facilitating meetings between the MS Association of Health Underwriters and leaders at the Capitol. After a delicious lunch, MASI and MAHU representatives met with Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, Senators Dean Kirby, Videt Carmichael, Joey Fillingane, and Bob Dearing, and Representatives Gary Chism and Jeff Smith.

They were also recognized from both the Senate and House Galleries.

MASI’s “Urine Trouble Bill” Flushed by Senate Leadership

clip_image021In spite of enormous national media attention, and almost unanimous passage by the House, HB1080, the Mississippi Urine Trouble Act, is now dead – down the drain – having been flushed by leadership in the Senate.

All puns aside, this bill would have been a major step forward in safeguarding Mississippi’s Drug-Free Workplace. By outlawing the sale of synthetic human urine, it would have given employers peace of mind to know that their employees could no longer buy this product at Mississippi truck stops, tobacco shops, and other outlets, where it is being sold by the thousands.

We cannot speak for the Senate leadership who killed the bill – it seemed to be a no-brainer. But for some reason, in spite of significant support among individual senators, leadership allowed it to die on the calendar.

MASI will continue to work on this issue, hoping that it can pass next year. The safety of Mississippi workers, motorists, and even school children is at stake. We applaud the House for supporting this bill, especially Rep. Andy Gipson for authoring it – and we urge the Senate to get on board in the future.

To read MASI’s talking points on the Urine Trouble Bill, click here.

To read HB1080, click here.

MASI’s Workplace Wellness Tax Credit Dies Again

clip_image023MASI’s Workplace Wellness Tax Credit has died again, in spite of tremendous support in the House, the lack of support by Senate Leadership doomed it to defeat – this time it did not even make it out of committee.

We appreciate the support of House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith who authored the bill, and also Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane who authored it in the Senate.

We are beginning to lose count of how many years Senate leadership has killed this bill. But we will keep trying. 

To read talking points on MASI’s Wellness Tax Credit bill, CLICK HERE.

To send an email expressing YOUR SUPPORT for MASI’s Wellness Tax Credit, CLICK HERE.

To read HB1542, CLICK HERE.

To visit the Legislative Homepage, click here.

Scroll down to the bottom of this email for a listing of active bills.

MWCC Names Alan C. Goodman Administrative Judge

clip_image025The MS Workers’ Compensation Commission has named Alan C. Goodman Administrative Judge, replacing Judge Homer Best who recently retired. MASI congratulates Judge Goodman on his appointment!

Judge Goodman received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. After graduating from law school in 1992, he was admitted to practice before the Mississippi and Louisiana State Bars where his legal career has consisted of litigation, admiralty and maritime, and workers’ compensation practice. Over the course of his career he has represented insurance companies as well as injured employees in matters pending before the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission.

While in law practice, Judge Goodman served on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and the Technology Committee of the Mississippi Bar, and he is currently a member of the Workers’ Compensation section of the Mississippi Bar. Judge Goodman has been a frequent lecturer to attorneys and insurance adjusters on subjects concerning workers’ compensation practice in Mississippi. Judge Goodman joined the Commission as a senior attorney in 2013, before being appointed to serve as an Administrative Judge in 2018.

List of Bills MASI is Watching

Workers’ Comp Bills

HB 1

Workers’ Compensation Law; revise various provisions regarding.
DEAD

Sykes

HB 77

Workers’ Compensation Law; increase maximum total recovery under to 520 weeks.
DEAD

Hines

HB 78

Workers’ Compensation; increase maximum total recovery and remove cap on permanent total disability compensation.
DEAD

Sykes

HB 403

Workers’ compensation; require emergency hearing upon request of either party.
DEAD

Watson

HB 437

Workers’ Compensation; require death benefits payments to next-of-kin if no dependents exist.
DEAD

Scott

HB 856

Workers’ Compensation Law; reduce certain repayment to employer after third party lawsuit due to attributable fault.
DEAD

Baria

HB1080

“The Mississippi Urine Trouble Act”; create to provide for the crime of selling urine.
DEAD

Gipson

HB1046

Workers’ Compensation Law; bring forward section regarding estoppel to deny insurance claims.
DEAD

Bennett

SB2179

Workers’ compensation; increase maximum total recovery and remove cap on permanent total disability compensation.
DEAD

Simmons (12th)

HB1137

Insurance companies; revise notice requirements when transferring policies to an affiliated insurer.
DEAD

Turner

Health Insurance/ Health Related Bills

HB 3

Health insurance policies; require coverage for hearing aids and services for children under 21.
DEAD

Massengill

HB 329

Prescription drugs; health insurance policies must allow for partial refills for purposes of medication synchronization.
DEAD

Mims

HB 433

Health insurance policies; require coverage certain examinations primarily related to women’s health.
DEAD

HB 522

Small business health insurance pool; create.
DEAD

Scott

HB 769

Health insurance policies; delete age limitation on requirement to provide autism-related coverage.
DEAD

Massengill

HB 844

Insurance; prohibit delaying medical bill payment of insured for purpose of establishing subrogation rights.
DEAD

Baria

HB 873

Commissioner of Insurance; may adopt rules and regulations that pertain to drug formularies.
DEAD

Chism

HB 874
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Contraceptives; require insurers, Medicaid and the State Health Plan to cover without cost sharing.
DEAD

Dortch

SB2088

State Employees Health Insurance Plan; allow local school board members to purchase coverage.
DEAD

Wilemon

SB2094

Health insurance coverage for mental illness; add coverage parity reporting requirements.
DEAD

Tollison

SB2095

Health insurance coverage for autism therapy services; remove age limitation.
DEAD

Tollison

SB2150

Health care insurance; no person, employer or health care provider shall be required to participate in any health care plan.
DEAD

Watson

SB2195

Health insurance; require coverage for hearing aids and services for hearing impaired children.
DEAD

Carmichael

SB2276

Health insurers; require to release certain claims data upon request of group policyholder.
DEAD

Watson *

SB2296

Group health insurance plan coverage for prescription drugs; authorize medication synchronization for beneficiaries.
Signed by the Governor

Kirby

SB2406

Health insurance policies; require to offer coverage for breast ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.
DEAD

Hill

SB2425

Qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements; authorize for reimbursing medical expenses of employees.
DEAD

Hill

HB1469

Health insurance coverage for autism therapy services; remove age limitation.
DEAD

Arnold

HB1513

Patient Choice Act of 2018; create.
DEAD

Foster

HB1514

The Patient Choice Act of 2018; enact.
DEAD

Chism

SB2454

Health insurance; require coverage for supplies used after surgery to remove bladder or colon.
DEAD

Hill

SB2550

Health insurance; Commissioner of Insurance must approve rate filings containing an increase in premiums.
DEAD

Norwood

SB2915

Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool; require approval before expending remaining monies after cessation.
DEAD

Carmichael

SB2916

Commissioner of Insurance; may adopt regulations for coverage of prescription drugs through a drug formulary.
DEAD

Carmichael

General Insurance Bills

HB 76

Insurance; require certain consumer information and notice and availability of mediation regarding balance billing.
DEAD

Dortch

SB2010
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Government self-insurance programs; authorize Commissioner of Insurance to conduct examinations of.
DEAD

Kirby

SB2311

Insurance companies; revise notice requirements when transferring policies to an affiliated insurer.
SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR

Blackwell

SB2020

Insurance agents; exempt age 75 or older from continuing education requirements.
DEAD

Dearing

As The Voice of One for self-insured healthcare and workers’ comp in Mississippi, MASI wants to serve you! As in years past, we will be hard at work tracking bills and keeping you informed of the ones that concern you. We will endeavor to safeguard our industry from harmful legislation and over-reaching regulation. If at any time you hear of legislation that concerns you, please do not hesitate to contact us!

As always, thank you for your support of MASI!

Dan

Dan M. Gibson, Executive Director

Mississippi Association of Self-Insurers

825 N. President Street

Jackson, Mississippi  39202

601-354-0199

www.masiweb.org