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Minutes for HB2074 - Committee on Insurance

Short Title

Requiring coverage of preexisting conditions by individual accident and sickness insurance policies.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 11, 2019

Chairperson Vickrey opened the hearing for HB 2074.

Assistant Revisor Eileen Ma briefed the members on the bill. She said the bill pertained to insurers who issued individual hospital, medical or surgical expenses policies. The bill put in place certain requirements pertaining to the individual health policies. It required an insurer to accept every individual who applied for coverage and required an insurer to cover preexisting conditions. An employer could impose an exclusionary period (Attachment 1).

Representative Jason Probst testified in support of the bill. He said he sponsored the bill to make sure residents could secure health insurance and receive the coverage they needed. There were protections, but those were limited to large and small group insurance policies. Individual policies, however, were not covered by such provisions. The bill codified Kansas law across all types of health insurance in the state and created consistency and predictability in the Kansas statute for those residents with preexisting conditions. He gave his personal story in that his son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12. Without access to adequate health coverage his family would likely not be able to afford his medication (Attachment 2).

Ken Johnson, CEO Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System provided written testimony in support of the bill. He said healthcare was an absolute necessity for a strong workforce and the treatment of chronic and long-term conditions. Most people had health conditions that could be classified as preexisting and the bill was a step toward protecting healthcare for all Kansans (Attachment 3).

Chairperson Vickrey asked if the members had questions for the proponents. There were none. He asked if there were any opponents to the bill.

William Sneed testified in opposition of the bill on behalf of America's Health Insurance Plans. The association's position was that every American should be able to get affordable comprehensive coverage, regardless of their income, health status, or preexisting condition. He said they shared the concerns of the legislature about the possibility of consumers losing protections should the Affordable Care Act be struck down; however, enacting these protections as a stand-alone policy would not ensure access to coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Further, enacting guaranteed issue provisions on their own could lead to a lack of affordable insurance for people shopping for insurance in the individual market, both with and without preexisting conditions (Attachment 4)

Chairperson Vickrey asked the members if they had any questions for the opponent. Questions were asked and answered including: what would happen if such a law were not on the books, how the bill would be affected if the ACA should be declared moot.

Brad Smoot testified as a neutral party representing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He said the purpose of the bill was designed to protect individuals with preexisting conditions. It was duplicative of federal law which already had that requirement. The bill applied to all non-grandfathered policies for individual and group coverage issued after 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. He described some of the conditions that would be considered preexisting conditions. He said the federal law applied to licensed insurers operating within the state. Unfortunately, it did not apply to unlicensed organizations selling healthcare benefit coverage to its members and warned that pending HB 2054 and SB 32 would allow coverage that removed preexisting condition protections that the President and others had pledged to keep. He provided members a copy of the 13-page Tennessee Farm Bureau health coverage application that itemized 78 conditions that an organization could take into consideration in accepting, rejecting or up-charging its members for coverage (Attachment 5)

Noah Tabor testified as a neutral party on behalf of Medica. The company had been covering the state's individual market since 2017. He said it was critical that individuals with preexisting conditions had access to high quality, affordable healthcare options. He encouraged the committee to extend the same protections even to healthcare benefits offered by those companies not designated as licensed. He said Medica worked with the the Nebraska Farm Bureau to create a product for farmers, ranchers and others connected with the agriculture community with affordable health insurance while still protecting preexisting conditions. He said Medica was willing to work with Kansas non-licensed organizations to offer a similar plan. He quoted Poet John Donne's poem that no man is an island and that protections should be in place for all (Attachment 6)

Questions were asked and answered as to Medica' opinion about whether all health care policies (licensed and non-licensed companies) should provide coverage for preexisting conditions.

Chairperson Vickrey closed the hearing on HB 2074.