HB 2009: Health care reform
HB 2009 makes a variety of reforms to Oregon's health care system to contain costs and improve quality. The bill includes a focus on preventive care and evidence-based medicine, development of a "health insurance exchange" to allow comparison shopping for insurance plans, stronger standards for review of insurance rates, and streamlining administrative functions by consolidating the state's health care functions into one agency.
With respect to the stronger standards for review of insurance rates, HB 2009 adds a public comment period, requires more detail about insurer administrative expenses, allows consideration of an insurance company's cost containment and quality improvement efforts, and gives DCBS greater ability to consider an insurer's overall profitability, investment earnings, and surplus in determining whether a rate should be approved. Although the bill was effective on passage, the rate review sections apply to rate filings submitted on or after April 1, 2010.
HB 2116: Assessments to expand health coverage
A new, 1 percent assessment on health insurance premiums and a hospital tax will generate revenues to help provide health care coverage for 80,000 children and 35,000 low-income adults. Insurance companies may increase health insurance premiums by 1 percent, effective Oct. 1, 2009.
HB 2194: Oregon Medical Insurance Pool (OMIP)
This bill allows the OMIP board to take action with a majority of voting members versus a majority of the whole, nine-member board. It removes the 180-day Oregon residency requirement for OMIP portability applicants to conform to federal law. It adopts the Oregon Insurance Division definition of "medical insurance" to assure consistency, and it specifies which types of insurance are not subject to the OMIP assessment. And, it clarifies which public entities and health care providers can pay an OMIP member's premium.
HB 2433: Health care premium subsidies
This law ensures that Oregonians who were laid off during the economic downturn can take full advantage of health care premium assistance available through the federal economic stimulus package. The bill expands the state continuation plan from six months to nine months, gives Oregonians who lost their job before the stimulus package was announced a second opportunity to elect to continue coverage, and establishes notification requirements for insurers. This law became effective on April 28, 2009.
Insurance companies obtain "reinsurance" to protect themselves from greater risk and higher losses and as a means to keep premiums lower. HB 2755 requires DCBS, in collaboration with the Office of Health Policy and Research, to conduct a study on reinsurance and other risk-spreading mechanisms for individual and small employer group health insurance markets. The bill also requires DCBS to provide a report on the results of the study and recommendations to the Legislative Assembly by Dec. 1, 2010.