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Minutes for HB2575 - Committee on Health and Human Services

Short Title

Enacting the patient right to shop act.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 14, 2018

The Chairperson opened the hearing on HB2575

Eileen Ma, Assistant Revisor, Office of Revisor of Statutes, explained that HB2575 would require any insurance carrier offering a health plan in Kansas to develop and implement a program that provides incentives for insureds participating in their health plan. The bill would require that on or after January 1, 2019, insureds be provided incentives for receiving comparable health care services from a health care organization that charges less than the average allowed amount paid by that carrier to an in-network health care entity.

Proponents:

Abraham Rafie, Representative, 48th District, Kansas Legislature said this bill seeks to bring greater transparency and reduce costs in health care.   He said, as a medical provider, he knows patients are often concerned about the cost of their care, and as a member of the House, he knows he is not alone in frequently hearing from constituents  concerning their struggles affording health insurance and health care (Attachment 1).

Elizabeth Rowe, Ph.D, M.B.A., Rowe Neurology Institute, Lenexa, Kansas, stated this bill will provide a great benefit to all patients, providers, and insurers, and will be a she said providing this information does not cause them any problems, so she don't think this bill will cause any undue burden on health care entities (Attachment 2).

Greggory Pfister, Foundation for Government Accountability explained that HB2575 has three main components (Attachment 3):

  • The first is the Right to Know - Patients should be able to find out the estimated price ahead of time from their insurance plan and compare providers to find one that works for them;
  • The second is the Right to Save - Patients have the right to share in savings if they shop for a high-value provider;
  • The third is the Right to Pick - Patients have the right to access a high-value provider, whether in or out-of-network.

Opponents:

Melissa Panettiere, Director of Governmental Affairs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, requested the committee to consider implementing the State Employee Health Plan first as a pilot project in order to collect solid utilization and cost data before mandating this monumental change on the private market (Attachment 4).

Sunne Mickle, Director of Government Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, said Blue Cross and Blue Shield respectfully opposes HB2575 as it is written due to unintended consequences the bill may have for BCBSKS members.  Our actuaries believe HB2575 could (Attachment 5):

  •    significantly increase administrative costs;
  •    disrupt our provider networks and value-based programs;
  •    have tax consequences for our members.

Neutral:

Chad Austin, Senior Vice President, Kansas Hospital Association, stated that after considering all aspects of the bill, the Kansas Hospital Association recommends that the committee consider requesting a legislative interim committee to further study and review this proposal. The additional time will allow us to better understand the experiences acquired from other states that have passed this legislation (Attachment 6).

Proponent written:

The following submitted proponent written testimony:

Rodney L Whittmore, Senator, Maine (Attachment 7).

Opponent written:

The following submitted opponent written testimony:

Bill Sneed, Retained Counsel, America's Health Insurance Plans (Attachment 8).

Neutral written:

The following neutral written testimony was submitted:

Charles L. Wheelan, Executive Director, Kansas Health Care Stabilization Board (Attachment 9);

Mike Michael, Director, State Employee Health Plan (Attachment 10).

Several questions and comments were addressed concerning the right to shop bill.  There was a comment that durable equipment is not in the bill and since there can be big price differences for durable products, it should be included in the bill.  It was agreed that price transparency was a plus, and this bill would engage patients to be involved in their health care, and incentivize them to shop around for better pricing, if there is a possibility they can receive a rebate.

After the discussion period, the Chairperson closed the hearing on HB2575.