HJ 144 Health insurance industry; Bureau of Insurance w/in SCC to study operations and cost thereof.
Robert G. Marshall | all patrons    ...    notes
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Summary as introduced:

Study; Bureau of Insurance; the operations of the health insurance industry and the escalating cost of health insurance in Virginia; report. Requests the Bureau of Insurance to study the operations of the health insurance industry and the escalating cost of health insurance in Virginia by identifying and considering the impact of various influences on escalating health insurance costs, including dramatically rising prescription drug costs; increased patient demand and education for new drugs and other new medical therapies; the effects of direct consumer advertising; greater reliance on drug therapies by the physician community; efforts by drug manufacturers to increase market share; the aging of the workforce; increased obesity and other health risk factors among various age groups; critical labor shortages for certain medical professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists; escalating medical malpractice insurance premiums; consolidations of for-profit health care provider groups, which have enabled providers to negotiate higher reimbursement levels and made it more difficult to contain costs; mergers of health insurers with health care providers, which may result in less competition and increased costs; the erosion in value of fixed-dollar co-payment levels over time relative to the cost of medical care to the patient, which may encourage greater use of services; limited information about the effectiveness of many medical tests and procedures; and significant amounts of uncompensated care provided for many individuals without health insurance. The Bureau of Insurance must also collect, analyze, and report aggregate data relating to the past and present business practices of the insurance companies to determine the companies' yearly total premiums, surplus funds, net incomes, and assets; the salaries of executives and bonuses or other perquisites for executives; workforce size and makeup; actual costs of the delivered services to the company, as negotiated with health care providers; the effects of conversion to stock companies; and the effects of any changes in corporate documents or any other matters relating to company structure and form that may be relevant to costs. In addition, the Bureau of Insurance will identify potential strategies and mechanisms to address the escalating costs of health insurance in Virginia, including regulatory schemes and enforcement, chronic disease management techniques, provider payment incentive systems, the widespread distribution of comparative quality information about providers and effectiveness information about various medical procedures and tests, restrictive choices of providers, and cost-sharing approaches that provide increased incentives to patients to make cost-effective decisions about their use of health care resources. The Bureau of Insurance will report an executive summary and a report of its findings and recommendations (for publication as a document) by the first day of the 2005 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Full text:
01/14/04  House: Presented & ordered printed, prefiled 01/13/04 044002396  pdf

01/14/04  House: Presented & ordered printed, prefiled 01/13/04 044002396
01/14/04  House: Referred to Committee on Rules
02/14/04  House: Continued to 2005 in Rules (16-Y 0-N)