The Senate approved Senate Bill 373 by a vote of 35-15. Senate Bill 373 would allow dental patients to authorize direct payments of dental insurance benefits to service providers. Insurance contracts issued 120 days after the passing of this legislation would be required to provide this option.
A claim form would be required to clearly and conspicuously state whether the provider will bill the patient for any balance that exceeds the direct payment assigned to the provider. The insured may be required to make applicable copayments, coinsurances or deductibles at the time of service, but would not be required to make any other payment at the point of service.
This legislation would also provide for the legislative budget and finance committees to conduct a study to examine the cost and benefits of direct reimbursement of nonparticipating providers, the impact of requiring direct reimbursement and the impact on consumers of prohibiting health insurance carriers from refusing to accept a valid assignment of benefits.
A report on the study would be presented to the leaders of the House insurance committee and the Senate banking and insurance committee.
The bill was referred to the House Insurance committee on January 24, 2018.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 827 which would provide for a person to use an online tool to allow or prohibit the disclosure of their digital assets, including electronic communications, to a fiduciary in the event of their death.
If the tool allows modifications at any time, disclosure directions given in this tool would override any contrary direction by the user in a will, trust, power of attorney or other record. Users without an online tool could use a will, trust, power of attorney or other record to allow or prohibit disclosure of their digital assets.
A user’s direction overrides a contrary provision in a terms of service agreement, which does not require the user to act affirmatively and distinctly from the user’s assent to the terms of service.
This bill outlines the procedure for custodians disclosing digital assets to the fiduciary.
The bill was referred to the House Judiciary committee on January 24, 2018.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 851 which amends the Real Estate Tax Sale law. This legislation clarifies that ownership responsibility over a delinquent property still resides with the owner in the case of the property remaining unsold after an upset tax sale (sale of a delinquent property that is subject to all liens and encumbrances). This bill provides for a county/bureau to act as trustee for the property. As trustee, the county would be entitled to accept full payment from or on behalf of the owner and to rehabilitate the property without assuming liability for the property.
The bill was referred to the House Urban Affairs committee on January 24, 2018.
The Senate approved Senate Bill 977 by a vote of 29-21 which would amend the Regulatory Review Act, providing additional legislature oversight of the regulatory review process.
The bill would require a legislative committee chairperson to provide a copy of information they receive to each committee member within five business days. Committee members would submit comments on proposed regulations to the committee chair.
This legislation would provide for more time for committees to take action on the approval of new regulations. Committees would also have the power to have the Independent Regulatory Review Commission remove regulations from its agenda that the committee disapproves of or needs additional time to review.
The bill was referred to the House State Government on January 25, 2018.
The Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 978 which would establish the Hospice & Home Health Prescription Medication Disposal Act. This bill authorizes a home health agency or hospice to dispose of a patients’ unused prescription medication in the case of their death or discharge.
Home health agencies and hospices would give patients a policy for accepting and disposing of medicines at the time of admission. Disposal of medicine would be done by a nurse in the presence of a witness at site where care is provided. This would be required to be done within five days of the death or discharge of the patient. The nurse would also be responsible for proper documentation as outlined in the bill. Home health agencies and hospices would be required to maintain records for a period of five years.
The bill was referred to the House Health committee on January 25, 2018.
The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 1448 which would require the PA Department of Education, PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) and higher education institutions to make available on its website information that includes direct links to the College Navigator and High Priority Occupations websites.
If the U.S. Department of Education discontinues the College Navigator website, the PA Department of Education would be required to make a search tool available to compare colleges on its website. This legislation outlines the requirements for this comparison tool.
The bill now goes to the House Rules committee.