Banking Commerce and InsuranceSession Review 2023

Session Review: Banking, Commerce and Insurance

Pet insurance, expanded access to preventive health screenings and creation of a “regulatory sandbox” topped the list of measures considered by the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.

Lawmakers established a regulatory framework for pet insurance in Nebraska and broadened telehealth access through passage of a bill sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Beau Ballard.

LB296 requires pet insurers to provide disclosures regarding waiting periods, claim schedules, definitions and exclusions for preexisting conditions. It also requires training for agents who sell pet insurance.

The measure was amended to include provisions of Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer’s LB256 that require insurance reimbursement rates for a telehealth service to be at least as much as a comparable in-person health care service if the licensed provider also provides in-person health care services at a physical location in Nebraska, or is employed by or holds medical staff privileges at a licensed facility in Nebraska that provides in-person health care services in the state.

Also included are provisions originally offered by Omaha Sen. Kathleen Kauth in her LB640, which require an off-campus hospital location to obtain and use a National Provider Identifier for reimbursement claims that is distinct from the NPI used by the main hospital campus.

Lawmakers passed LB296 on a 46-0 vote.

Omnibus measure

A bill to eliminate an onsite review requirement for title insurance agents was amended by lawmakers to include the provisions of more than a dozen other proposals heard by the committee this session.

Under current law, title insurers are required to conduct an annual review of a title insurance agent’s practices. LB92, introduced by Dunbar Sen. Julie Slama, removed a requirement that the review be done onsite.

Included in measures amended into the bill are three proposals from Lincoln Sen. Eliot Bostar.

Among other provisions, LB145 amends laws relating to insurance coverage requirements for mammography screening and breast examinations by expanding coverage for younger women and those with increased breast cancer risk and heterogeneous or dense breast tissue, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

LB383 requires coverage of at-home colorectal cancer screening kits and prohibits imposition of a deductible, coinsurance or other cost-sharing requirement for screening colonoscopies, including those performed as a result of a positive non-colonoscopy, stool-based preventive screen.

LB779 specifies that if there is a national shortage of an insulin drug, a covered individual is ensured access to insulin at a maximum of $35 per 30-day supply until such time that the national shortage ends.

Provisions of Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell’s LB616 align Nebraska’s economic development structure with the requirements of the federal Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. Provisions of his LB617 create the Economic Development Cash Fund to provide matching grants to a Nebraska-based covered entity that qualifies under the CHIPS for America Act.

Also included in the omnibus bill is LB587, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart, which creates a regulatory sandbox program under the state Department of Insurance to allow a participating entity to temporarily test innovative insurance products or services on a limited basis without otherwise being licensed or authorized under state law.

Provisions of the following bills relating to banking and insurance regulation also were amended into LB92:
• LB3, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Rita Sanders, which changes provisions for tax levies for bonds issued by political subdivisions;
• LB68, introduced by Slama, which increases from $500,000 to $1 million the minimum amount of proof of financial responsibility of medical malpractice liability for health care providers beginning Jan. 1, 2024, and increases professional liability insurance from $1 million to $3 million for aggregate limits for physicians and nurse anesthetists;
• LB93, also introduced by Slama, which updates requirements regarding security deposits made by insurers for the benefit of policyholders to include creditors in the same manner as policyholders;
• LB207, introduced by Elkhorn Sen. R. Brad von Gillern, which allows a sale of trust property under the Nebraska Trust Deeds Act to occur at a public building where county offices are located within the county in which the property to be sold — or some part of it — is located;
• LB214, introduced by Slama, which adopts federal updates to state banking and finance law and changes provisions relating to the Nebraska Installment Loan Act and loan brokerage agreements;
• LB278, introduced by Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz, which requires the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority and the state Department of Economic Development to use their best efforts to obtain state and federal grants to build safe, affordable and accessible housing for individuals with disabilities and collaborate with the state Department of Health and Human Services to obtain such grants;
• LB392, sponsored by Ballard, which authorizes the electronic delivery of certain health benefit plan documents;
• LB437, also sponsored by Ballard, which changes the renewal period for business entity licenses under the Insurance Producers Licensing Act from annual to biennial, beginning April 30, 2024;
• LB536, introduced by Slama, which changes provisions relating to investment by insurers in preferred and common stock;
• LB669, introduced by Ballard, which allows the department to prescribe conditions on certain financial institutions as a part of any order, decision or determination required under state laws governing those institutions; and
• LB674, introduced by Sen. Mike Jacobson of North Platte, which updates state law that governs digital asset depository institutions and digital asset departments within banks to improve regulation and makes technical corrections.

LB92 passed on a vote of 46-0 and took effect immediately.

Other measures

A bill intended to ensure that state funds are not used for political purposes was advanced by the committee but was not scheduled for debate this session.

LB67, sponsored by Slama, would require the state treasurer to ensure that money deposited by the office not be used by financial institutions for “social or political causes or objectives.”

Also advanced but not debated this session was LB308, sponsored by Bostar, which would require express consent from Nebraska residents for the sharing, storage and use of any consumer genetic data by direct-to-consumer genetic testing services.

Under the bill, a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company could not disclose a consumer’s genetic data to any entity offering health, life or long-term care insurance or to an employer without written consent. The measure also would require a process by which consumers could delete their accounts and their genetic data.

Both bills remain on general file.

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