Insurance company salary disclosure bill amended, debate stalls

A bill dealing with salary disclosure of insurance company executives was amended to include several additional bills before stalling during general file debate April 7.

LB799, as introduced by Holdrege Sen. Tom Carlson, would repeal a requirement that every insurance company holding a certificate of authority to transact insurance business in Nebraska must annually file the salaries and compensation of its officers with the state director of insurance.

A pending Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee amendment would retain the filing requirement regarding insurance company officer salaries but would require that such information be maintained as confidential and not disclosed to anyone outside the state Department of Insurance except as agreed to by the insurance company or as ordered by a court.

The bill was amended to include provisions of three additional bills.

Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash brought an amendment, adopted 36-1, which incorporated provisions of LB505. A carryover measure that he introduced last session, the bill would require insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis and other autism spectrum disorder treatments.

The measure would require that insurance plans in Nebraska provide coverage for autism screening, diagnosis and treatment provided by a board-certified behavior analyst or licensed psychologist. Disease-specific and self-funded employee plans would be exempt from the bill’s provisions.

Required annual coverage amounts would be a maximum of $25 hours per week until the insured person is 21 years old. An insurer would have the right to request a review of an individual’s treatment every six months.

The measure would not apply to qualified health plans in individual and small group markets sold through and outside the state’s health insurance exchange that are required to include essential health benefits under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Coash said the amendment would provide needed services to approximately 900 children in Nebraska, adding that 34 other states already require coverage for autism spectrum disorders. Those states have seen an average per member, per month premium increase of 15 cents, he said.

“We are not going into uncharted territory,” Coash said. “We are not the canary in the coal mine that’s going to figure out how this is going to work.”

Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist brought an amendment, adopted 37-0, which incorporated provisions of his LB883. The amendment would repeal the Dec. 31, 2015 termination date for a requirement that individual and group health policies, certificates and contracts and self-funded employee benefit plans—to the extent not preempted by federal law—provide coverage for orally administered anticancer medication on a basis no less favorable than intravenously administered or injected anticancer medications.

Nordquist said the sunset date on a parity requirement for intravenous and oral chemotherapy treatments, passed in 2012, was put in place to ensure that the requirement would not have an adverse impact on premiums and should be removed.

Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln offered an amendment, adopted 34-0, which would adopt a pilot program based on her LB397 introduced last session. The amendment would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to establish a two-year program to provide amino-acid based elemental formulas for the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies, food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome, eosinophilic disorders and short-bowel syndrome.

The program would provide funding when an ordering physician has issued a written order stating that amino-based elemental formula is necessary for the treatment of a disease or disorder. A $250,000 appropriation would fund the pilot program, which would provide up to 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs for treatment, not to exceed $12,000 per child in a 12-month period.

Conrad said that although rare, severe food allergies and related disorders require expensive formula that is not covered by all private insurance companies. She said the amendment represents a compromise that would provide short-term relief to families rather than a mandate for insurance coverage of treatment.

“This proposal will help to provide some assistance to families in need,” Conrad said.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers offered an amendment that would have stripped the original provisions of LB799 from the bill. No public benefit would be served by removing the requirement for insurance companies to report executive salaries, Chambers said, adding that his opposition did not extend to the other bills amended into the proposal.

“We don’t need this [underlying bill],” he said. “Keep those amendments; this vehicle has served its purpose.”

Carlson opposed the amendment, saying it is unfair for the state to require executive salary disclosure from insurance companies.

“I think this was a reasonable request because no other private companies have to divulge those figures,” he said.

The amendment failed on a 17-23 vote.

Two additional proposed amendments were ruled not germane to the underlying bill. A motion offered by Chambers to recommit LB799 to the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee was pending when the Legislature adjourned for the day.

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