Highlights of the Week
HB19-1174, Out-of-network Health Care Services, and SB19-134, Out-of-network Health Care Disclosures And Charges, are two bills to require disclosures about out-of-network care to patients and to sets rates of reimbursement to providers and facilities for services provided that were out-of-network. Recent years have seen bill to address this issue fail, but bi-partisan support has brought the issue back to the forefront this session with insurers/consumer groups supporting HB19-1174 by Rep. Esgar, Rep. Catlin, Sen. Gardner, and Sen. Pettersen and physicians supporting SB19-134 by Senator Fields, Senator Tate, and Representative Soper. Both would require carriers to reimburse providers or facilities for emergency out-of-network services provided to covered persons at whichever rate is highest of the insurance carrier’s average in-network rate, 125% of the Medicare rate, or 100% of the median in-network rate of the surrounding geographic area. SB19-134 has different criteria for reimbursing providers like physicians, setting those benchmarks higher, particularly for services provided in rural areas.
SB19-012, Use of Mobile Electronic Devices While Driving, passed the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously on Thursday. The bill is sponsored by Senator Court and Representative Melton. Colorado law already prohibits people younger than 18 from using mobile devices, so SB19-012 would expand this prohibition to adults unless the use is through a hands free device. Before passing Committee on Thursday, SB19-012 was amended, primarily so that it would not prevent law enforcement from using necessary devices and to reduce the fines for violations. The introduced bill included penalties of $300 for the first violation, $500 for the second, and $750 for the third. The amended version of the bill would establish fines of $50 for the first violation, $150 for the second, and $350 for the third. SB19-012 passed to the Appropriations Committee.
SB19-090, the bill to establish insurance requirements and set regulations for peer-to-peer car sharing companies was heard in Senate Transportation Committee on Monday this week. The bill was amended to prevent companies from putting fleets of cars on the peer-to-peer car sharing platforms, to clarify the end time for when a user returns a car, and to require car sharing companies to enter into concession agreements with airports before allowing car sharing at the airport. The bill passed 3-2 with Senator Priola, Senator Tate, and Senator Williams voting for the bill. The bill is expected to be debated by the full Senate next week on second reading.
A bill to create a pilot program that would increase the number of social workers in a school was heard in its first committee this week. HB19-1017, K-5 Social and Emotional Health Act, passed the House Education Committee on Thursday on a party line vote although several Democrat members express concern about the potential cost of the proposal. The bill is sponsored by Representative Michaelson Jenet and Senator Fields. Many school social workers testified in support of the bill during the Thursday hearing. They spoke about the difficulties of providing services to hundreds of students, oftentimes across multiple schools. The social workers and school representatives also testified to the importance of ensuring that students gain social and emotional skills early in their lives.
HB19-1037, Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Act would set up a financial mechanism to handle the decommissioning of coal fired power plants and use some of the funds for worker retraining and backfilling local property taxes. The bill was scheduled for second reading in the House on Friday, but it was laid over until Tuesday, February 19th.
Bills of the Week