By Timothy J. Meenan, NAIFA-Florida Lobbyist
Session Dispatch - Week 2
$100 DOLLAR BILL CONTINUES TO ADVANCE SB762/HB483
HB483 by Representative Yarborough passed its final committee stop this week and will be headed to the House floor. Meanwhile, SB 762 Sponsored by Senator Mayfield has been placed on the agenda in the Banking and Insurance committee for next Tuesday, January 23rd. Banking and Insurance will be the first of three committee stops for the bill in the Senate.
Current law allows an insurance agent to spend up to $25 to provide advertising or logo type items to their current or prospective customers. Agents are not allowed to take a client to lunch, take their client to a football game, or participate in other usual and customary business practices. The bill would allow agents to spend up to $100 on client entertainment or business related costs without violating Florida Law. Expenditures include meals, tickets, insurance mitigation items like fire extinguishers or home fire inspections, etc.
GENETIC INFORMATION USED FOR INSURANCE CLEARS FINAL HOUSE COMMITTEE - SB1106/HB855
HB855 by Representative Brodeur was unanimously passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee, its final committee stop. Current Florida law prohibits health insurers from considering genetic information when issuing insurance policies and when setting applicable premium rates. The bill expands these existing prohibitions to include life insurance policies, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance and would prevent these policy types from canceling, limiting, or denying coverage or setting differential premium rates based on personal genetic information that is derived from genetic testing. The definition of genetic testing in current law excludes routine physical examinations or chemical, blood, or urine analysis, unless conducted purposefully to obtain genetic information, and also excludes questions regarding family history. The bill does not modify this definition.
ACLI and FIC engaged Rep. Brodeur early on these bills and discussed possible amendments with him based on Vermont and Massachusetts statutes. Because a compromise seemed likely, the trades did not challenge the bill when it was heard in the first committee. Unexpectedly, Rep. Brodeur informed the trades that there would be no amendment and the bill was placed on the agenda of the second and last committee. The committee spent approximately 40 minutes on testimony, debate and questions and many gray areas were raised about situations where the results of a genetic test are also a diagnosis, such as with Parkinson's disease. HB855 could move to the floor as early as the week of January 29.
The companion measure,
SB1106 by Senator Bean, has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
UNFAIR INSURANCE TRADE PRACTICES HEADED TO HOUSE FLOOR SB756/HB533
HB 533 by Representative Hager passed its second and final House committee this week and is headed to the floor. The bill, backed by AAA, allows a property and casualty insurer to condition the sale of insurance on the purchase of motor vehicle services if such services are purchased from a membership organization that has maintained more than one million members in Florida continuously since January 1, 2018 and is affiliated with the insurer.
The Senate companion, SB 756 sponsored by Senator Grimsley, passed its first of three committees this week and moves onto the Commerce and Tourism Committee next.
TELEHEALTH BILL PASSES FIRST COMMITTEE SB280/HB793
SB280 by Senator Bean passed unanimously out of the Banking and Insurance Committee this week. The bill establishes practice standards for telehealth health care services. The bill also allows telehealth providers who are licensed to prescribe schedule I through V controlled substances may prescribe those controlled substances through telehealth, except that those controlled substances may not be prescribed to treat chronic nonmalignant pain. Additionally, the bill states that telehealth may not be used to issue a physician certification for the ordering medical marijuana. The bill requires that a patient's medical records must be updated by a telehealth provider according to the same standards that apply to an in-person healthcare provider.
HB793 by Representative Masullo has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
INSURANCE OMNIBUS BILL TEMPORARILY POSTPONED - SB784/HB465
HB465 by Representative Santiago makes a number of changes to Florida Insurance Statutes. The bill was temporarily postponed in the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee agenda this week. The Insurance and Banking Subcommittee is meeting next on Tuesday, January 23rd and we anticipate this bill with a strike all amendment to be on the agenda for that meeting. The amendment will include valuation of insurers requirement to provide a summary in the Notice of Change of Policy Terms, AOB mediation protocols and Intelligent Mail technology, among other tweaks.
The companion measure, SB784 by Senator Brandes has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
AOB GLASS REFORM PASSES FIRST COMMITTEE - SB396/HB811
SB 396 by Senator Hukill passed its first committee this week and was amended adding two onerous amendments that will leave Senator Hukill to decide whether to pursue the bill any further. The bill provides that an automobile insurance policy may require an inspection of a damaged windshield before the windshield repair or replacement is authorized by the insurer. Current law provides that the deductive provision of an automobile insurance policy providing comprehensive or combined additional coverage do not apply to damage to windshield covered under the policy. While current law does not prohibit insurers from requiring inspections, this bill affirmatively states that an insurer may require an inspection before authorizing windshield repair or replacement.
HB811 by Representative Plasencia has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
HOUSE CONTINUES TO WAIT ON THE SENATE FOR AOB REFORM - SB62/HB7015
SB62 by Senator Hukill has not been scheduled for a committee hearing. SB1168, an onerous measure by Senator Steube, was set for hearing in week 2, but was not considered when the committee ran out of time. SB1168 has been placed on the committee agenda for next Tuesday, January 23rd.
Meanwhile, the Florida House of representatives passed HB 7015 by Representative Trumbull and sent it to the Senate in the first week of the legislative session. While not a perfect solution, the bill makes significant changes to the way property repair vendors are restricted in their use of an "assignment of benefits" or "AOB." The House bill requires disclosures be provided to insureds before entering into an AOB. It also moves to a "loser pays" attorney fee system. The House legislation provides the insured with an opportunity to rescind the assignment within 7 days of entering into the contract with the vendor. Further, the bill increases consumer protections and required vendors to provide written estimates of the work to be completed and required the assignee to notify the insurer of the assignment within 3 days of it being executed. While it would be better to eliminate attorneys' fees to repair vendors altogether, this bill is an improvement over the current system.
SB 1034 by Senator Steube reduces the settlement authority that an insurance carrier representative must have at a mediation conference and authorizes a circuit court to compel the attendance of interested nonparties at a mediation conference. With respect to the report that a mediator must provide the court at the conclusion of mediation, the bill restricts what a mediator may disclose in its report to the court if the parties reach no agreement, but the bill expands what may be in the report if the parties reach a partial agreement. To the extent that these issues are addressed differently in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Supreme Court may choose to conform the rules to the provisions of the bill. The bill was on the agenda in the Senate Judiciary Committee in week 1 and was temporarily postponed. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet next Thursday, January 25th, the agenda for this meeting has not been released yet.
HB1043 by Representative Metz has not been scheduled for a committee Hearing.
AOB MANAGED REPAIR WITH RESTRICTIONS
SB1140 by Senator Garcia specifies requirements for an insurer offering residential coverage that places a restriction on the policyholder's choice of contractor necessary to repair damage covered by the policy. Those restrictions would require the use of a contractor with an active license, prohibiting the contractor from placing a lien on the covered property for the work performed, ensure that all necessary permits are obtained for the work being performed, and guarantee the quality of work performed by the contractor under the policy for 3 years after all work has been completed.
The bill has not been scheduled for a committee hearing and has no House companion.
INSURER REPORTING SB1668
SB 1668 by Senator Farmer requires insurers filing rates with OIR to provide specific information and projections relating to claim litigation in their filings. This information includes costs associated with litigating claims, denied or limited claims that were successfully defended by the insurer in court, denied or limited claims that reached settlement, denied or limited claims that were adjudicated in favor of the insured, plaintiff attorney fees paid in association with denied or limited claims, and defendant attorney fees paid in association with denied or limited claims. This bill has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
There is no House companion bill.
SB492/HB289 MAIL ORDER PHARMACY
SB492 by Senator Garcia plans on prohibiting certain health insurance policies from requiring insureds to obtain certain prescription drugs exclusively from mail order pharmacies for the treatment of specified chronic illnesses; prohibiting certain health maintenance contracts from requiring subscribers to obtain certain prescription drugs exclusively from mail order pharmacies for the treatment of specified chronic illnesses; and requiring certain health maintenance organizations to include specified disclosures in their outlines of coverage regarding such prescription drugs. The bill would effectively remove discount incentives for insureds to utilize the mail order option. The bill passed Banking and Insurance committee on January 16 and moves next to the
Health Policy committee.
HB289 passed its first committee with an amendment limiting the scope of the bill to HIV drugs only. The bill goes next to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.
HB351 PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGER/ SB1494 PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICING TRANSPARENCY
HB351 by Rep. Santiago
prohibits managed care plan from contracting with pharmacy benefits managers ("PBMs") to manage prescription drug coverage under certain conditions; provides requirements relating to pharmacy benefits registration; requires specified duties of pharmacy benefits managers; authorizes pharmacy to dispense specialty drugs under certain conditions; and in general imposes onerous levels of regulation on PBMs.
The bill was amended to narrow the scope of the bill to PBM registration, gag clause, and claw back prohibitions. Insurers and PBMs are working on an amendment to further clarify at the next committee stop. The bill was passed by Health innovation Subcommittee.
SB1494 by Montford has not been heard in committee yet.
HB 199 - STEP THERAPY/ SB98 HEALTH INSURER AUTHORIZATION
HB199 by Harrison prohibits health insurers & HMOs from requiring insureds or subscribers to repeat step therapy protocols; provides that certain health insurers & HMOs may impose specified requirement for continued coverage; provides that such entities are not required to take specified actions. An amendment was adopted that struck the prior authorization portion of the bill and modified the step therapy portion. The amendment needs further clarification to obtain proof of failure on a drug. The bill was passed by the Health Innovation Subcommittee and is now in the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.
SB98 by Steube revises requirements for prior authorizations for healthcare benefits; provides requirements & procedures for insurer to specify order of medical procedure, course of treatment, or prescription drug used to treat insured's condition. This bill remains onerous. The bill has been placed on the calendar, on 2nd reading
SB518 NAMED-DRIVER EXCLUSION
SB518 by Senator Bean would allow an insured to exclude certain identified individuals, such as a family member, from coverage on an auto policy. The bill was temporarily postponed on January 16 in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee but is back on the committee agenda for January 23. The bill was postponed because two hostile amendments were filed by the Trial Bar.
Companion HB329 by Ponder is on House Special Order floor calendar on 1/24. Two minor, clarifying amendments were adopted in committee last week.
HB1011 HURRICANE FLOOD INSURANCE DISCLOSURE NOTICE
Representative Cruz's bill requires insurers to obtain the applicant's written acknowledgement for the absence of flood coverage. The bill passed its first committee with 3 amendments. We are working with the sponsor to improve the language in the bill.
The companion measure, SB1282 by Sen. Taddeo has not been heard in committee yet.
HB 1021 - FLORIDA INSURANCE CODE EXEMPTION FOR NONPROFIT RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
Rep. Altman's bill revises criteria under which nonprofit religious organization that facilitates sharing of contributions among its participants for financial or medical needs is exempt from requirements of code; revises requirements for notice provided by organization. The bill was passed by Health Innovation Subcommittee. It moves next to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee where it is on the agenda on January 23.
The companion measure, SB660 by Senator Brandes, has passed its first two committees and goes next to Rules for its final committee stop.