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2017 Health and Wellness Bills

We focus on health and wellness as one of our pillars for a strong economy because a healthy workforce is happy, present and productive—and creates a competitive advantage for our region.

Have a question about a position we’ve taken? Call us at 303-620-8088 or email us at publicpolicy@denverchamber.org.

  • Position Key
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  • Oppose
  • Neutral
  • STATUS Key
  • Passed
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Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB17-1094 Telehealth Coverage Under Health Benefit Plans

This bill clarifies that insurance companies cannot restrict or deny coverage of telehealth services based on the communication technology or application used to deliver the telehealth services, thereby improving low-cost access to health care for people in rural parts of the state.

The Chamber supports the necessary clarifications to the telehealth law in this bill because it will continue to improve rural patient’s access to quality health care through the use of technology and results in lower cost of care.

HB17-1247 Patient Choice Health Care Provider

This bill prohibits a health plan from managing the size of their network by removing their ability to choose which providers can be on the network.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts and restricts carriers’ ability to create their own network as a strategy that can help businesses and their employees contain costs of health care.

HB17-1286 State Employee Health Carrier Requirements

This bill requires that any insurance carrier that provides services to the state must also participate in the individual market, in Medicaid or the children’s basic health plan and offer individual market plans in at least two Colorado counties with the highest average premiums.

This legislation sets a dangerous precedent by putting into statute a mandate for how and where a business must operate as a condition of doing business with the state.

HB17-1307 Family And Medical Leave Insurance Program Wage Replacements

This bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program in the newly created Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance in the Department of Labor and Employment. The division would provide partial wage replacement benefits to eligible individuals who take leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition or who are unable to work due to their own serious health condition. The bill expands employer coverage to employers with one or more employee as compared to the 50-employee threshold under the FMLA.

This bill would be costly and burdensome for employers as they would be required to implement an additional employee payroll deduction. It would also impose significant administrative and operational costs.

HB18-1009 Diabetes Drug Pricing Transparency Act 2018

This bill requires drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers to report information regarding diabetes drug prices and related profits. The information from the report is to be posted on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.

The Chamber is working with more than 30 organizations to identify industry-wide strategies that address Colorado’s rising health care costs. While this bill highlights an existing challenge within our healthcare system, we are concerned that this proposal exceeds the state’s legal jurisdiction. There is uncertainty regarding the state’s ability to require federally regulated companies to submit data; additionally, there is considerable inconsistency in the types of pharmaceutical organizations this regulation would impact.

HB18-1097 Patient Choice of Pharmacy

This bill prohibits a health plan from controlling costs by choosing which pharmacies to include in its networks.

Chamber members have consistently identified rising cost as the biggest concern with regard to health care. This bill undermines the ability of health plans to negotiate with pharmacies to provide patients with lower-cost options thereby making it more costly for businesses to afford these benefits.

HB19-1001 Hospital Transparency Measures To Analyze Efficacy

This bill requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Colorado Health Care Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise Board to develop and prepare an annual report detailing uncompensated hospital costs and expenses, using publicly available data whenever possible. Psychiatric hospitals, long-term care facilities and certain critical access hospitals are exempted.

Over the past year the Chamber has worked with more than 30 health care organizations to identify industry-wide strategies to address Colorado’s rising health care costs. The group developed robust transparency and disclosure recommendations, understanding that they are key to analysis and consumer education. This bill will provide more transparency in health care, which can help consumers better navigate their care as well as other components of the industry better understand the factors contributing to health care costs.

HB19-1010 Freestanding Emergency Departments Licensure

This bill creates a new license, referred to as a “freestanding emergency department license,” for a health facility that offers emergency care and is located more than 250 yards from a hospital, whether or not it’s affiliated with the hospital. Community clinics are exempted.

This bill ensures that free-standing emergency departments align with other specialties in that they have their own specific license. It allows better tracking of data related to free standing emergency departments, which is helpful for consumers and other components of the healthcare industry.

HB19-1058 Income Tax Benefits For Family Leave

This bill creates various income tax credits for employers and employees in an effort to incent businesses to offer family and medical leave benefits to their workers. An employer and employee receive a state income tax deduction for any amount up to $5,000 they contribute to an employee’s leave savings account. An employer also receives an income tax credit if they pay an employee for leave that is between six and 12 weeks for a family or medical leave. For employers with fewer than 50 employees the credit is equal to 50 percent of the amount paid, and for employers with 50 or more employees the credit is equal to 25 percent of the amount paid.

This bill encourages businesses to create and invest in a family and medical leave insurance program for their employees and incentivizes employees to contribute to their own accounts. It also rewards companies that are already providing such programs to their employees. The Chamber supports the flexibility this legislation gives to businesses while also encouraging them to provide a program of this kind to their employees.

HB19-1154 Patient Choice Of Pharmacy

This bill prohibits a health plan from controlling costs by choosing which pharmacies to include in its networks.

Chamber members have consistently identified rising cost as the biggest concern regarding health care. This bill undermines the ability of health plans to negotiate with pharmacies to provide patients with lower-cost options thereby making it more costly for businesses to afford these benefits. Although access is a critical component in any health care conversation, the benefits of increasing access in this case do not outweigh the significant impact to cost and quality this legislation stands to generate.

HB19-1174 Out-of-network Health Care Services

This bill requires certain disclosures to patients regarding out-of-network services provided at in-network and out-of-network facilities. It sets the reimbursement amounts for emergency services at out-of-network emergency facilities. In these cases, carriers must reimburse the out-of-network facility the greater of:
• 105 percent of the carrier’s median in-network rate provided in a similar facility or in the same geographic area, or
• The median in-network rate provided in a similar facility or in the same geographic area, as determined by payments reported to the All-Payer Claims Database.
It also sets the reimbursement amounts for other services provided by out-of-network providers working in in-network facilities. In these cases, carriers must reimburse the out-of-network facility the greater of:
• 110 percent of the carrier’s median in-network rate provided in a similar facility or in the same geographic area, or
• The sixtieth percentile of the median in-network rate provided in a similar facility or in the same geographic area, as determined by payments reported to the All-Payer Claims Database.

Over the past year the Chamber has worked with more than 30 health care organizations and dozens of non-industry members to identify strategies to address Colorado’s rising health care costs. During that process, addressing out-of-network charges at in-network facilities was discussed and prioritized by the Chamber’s members. This bill will help reduce surprise billing and ultimately help lower overall costs of health care.

HB19-1296 Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Measures

This bill creates the Colorado Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act of 2019, requiring health insurers, prescription drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit management firms and nonprofit organizations to report specified information about the costs of prescription drugs to the commissioner of insurance, including:
• Rebates received by carriers from manufacturers and their effects on premium prices
• Price increases by manufacturers that meet a certain threshold 30 days in advance
• Income and donations from manufacturers, PBMs or carriers by nonprofits
The bill then directs the commissioner to analyze the information and submit a report regarding the effects of prescription drug costs on health insurance premiums. It also requires carriers to pass rebates received from pharmaceutical companies or pharmacy benefit management firms on to consumers.

This bill risks exposing proprietary and trade secret information in a way that could ultimately result in increased health care costs.

SB17-003 Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange

This bill repeals the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act, effective Jan. 1, 2018, and allows the exchange to continue for one year for the purpose of winding up its affairs.

The Chamber, along with more than 100 diverse stakeholders as part of the Colorado Health Policy Coalition, has identified a set of principles that we urge Congress to consider when examining a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We oppose a repeal of the ACA without a clear replacement because of the uncertainty and potential cost increases a repeal without replacement would create for businesses.

SB17-057 Colorado Health Care Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise

This bill repeals the Hospital Provider Fee and enacts the Colorado health care affordability and sustainability enterprise as a state business outside of the revenues used for evaluating TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) and Referendum C cap levels. The enterprise would charge and collect a new Hospital Provider Fee and would implement and administer the state Hospital Provider Fee program.

Last year, the governor imposed a $100 million reduction in Hospital Provider Fee (HPF) collection to help balance the budget for Colorado, which resulted in the loss of an additional $100 million in matched funds for Colorado by the federal government. This year that number increased to $195 million, and it will continue to rise exponentially unless reclassification of the HPF is addressed.

SB17-088 Participating Provider Network Selection Criteria

This bills requires health insurers to disclose the standards they use to construct and market their provider networks. It also requires carriers to outline a process by which providers may seek reconsideration if a carrier decides to make changes to, terminate or deny participation in its provider network.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts and restricts carriers’ ability to create their own network as a strategy that can help businesses and their employees contain costs of health care.

SB17-151 Consumer Access to Health Care

This bill imposes new mandates on how insurers should make decisions pertaining to authorizing providers, health care services and coverage, particularly removing the requirement that the insured receive a referral before seeing a specialist.

This bill is a mandate that interferes with private contracts, and with the ability to directly visit a specialist, will increase health care costs.

SB18-146 Freestanding Emergency Departments Required Consumer Notices

This bill requires freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) to disclose information to potential patients regarding the type of facility in which they’re seeking care as well as costs and coverage associated with care.

The Chamber is working with more than 30 health care organizations to identify industry-wide strategies that address Colorado’s rising health care costs. Throughout this process, requests for transparency and continue to emerge. The disclosures required in this bill could help patients make more informed decisions about the health care services they receive.

SB19-073 Statewide System Of Advance Medical Directives

This bill requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to create and administer a statewide electronic system that allows qualified individuals to upload and access advance medical directives.

End-of-life care is one of most costly parts of the health care system. This bill streamlines this process by creating a single electronic repository, allowing health care providers to more easily locate advance medical directives for treatment. This will honor and respect a patient’s wishes and, in some cases, may help contain costs by allowing physicians to more quickly access this important information. Best practices should be considered when implementing this legislation to ensure ease of use and ability to update, should a patient change their mind on their directive.

SB19-134 Out-of-network Health Care Disclosures And Charges

This bill sets the reimbursement amounts out-of-network provides can charge in-network facilities for emergency services. In these cases, carriers must reimburse the out-of-network facility the greater of the following:
• The carrier’s average in-network rate
• 125 percent of Medicare
• The average in-network rate as determined by payments reported to the All Claims Payer Database.
It also sets the reimbursement amounts out-of-network providers can charge in-network facilities for non-emergency services. In these cases, carriers must reimburse the out-of-network facility the greater of:
• The average allowed amount for in- and out-of-network rates multiplied by 150 percent for urban providers and
• The average allowed amount for in- and out-of-network rates multiplied by 200 percent for rural providers.
The bill also authorizes arbitration for payment of claims that are in dispute if certain criteria are met.

This bill will result in increased health insurance premiums, which is the opposite of what we need in Colorado. Chamber members have consistently identified rising cost as the biggest concern regarding health care. The benchmark payments in this proposal are set at such a high rate that they will result in higher costs well beyond current rates.

SB19-188 FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program

This bill creates a mandatory Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program, providing partial wage replacement to eligible individuals who take leave from work to care for a new child or a family member with a serious medical condition, because of a serious medical condition of their own or due to certain needs arising from a family member’s active duty service. It requires a 60-40 split between employees and employers, respectively, to cover the cost of the premium. Premiums are based on a percentage of the employee’s yearly wages.

Bill sponsors have accepted various amendments on this bill to:
• create a task force to be appointed by the governor and General Assembly;
• have the task force study options of a third party to run a family leave program;
• require a study of the costs and financial impact of a family and medical leave program;
• require recommendations be presented to members of the General Assembly and the governor; and
• require that the General Assembly introduce a new bill next session to implement the program based on the results of the study.
Legislators took a critical step to better understand a program that will undoubtedly impact all working Colorado families. The Chamber feels confident that these changes will allow for a thorough analysis of the implications of such a program and that the results will be taken into account when reviewing the proposed program next legislative session.

SB19-217 Healthcare Provider Liens

A health care lien is a demand for repayment that may be claimed against a personal injury case for medical care related to that case. This bill creates a regulatory framework for health care lien companies and increases access to financing for personal injury claims.

This bill will legitimize a practice that essentially incentivizes the inflation of damages, driving up costs for everyone involved in a personal injury case and making it easier for health care lien companies to operate in Colorado. It also puts injured parties at risk for extensive claims if they lose their case. Additionally, it will result in similar companies moving to Colorado and increase the volume of personal injury claims.

SB19-234 Sunset Professional Review Committees

This bill implements the recommendations of the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ sunset review on the professional review committee and extends the committee, currently set to sunset in September 2019, for 11 years. Professional Review Committees review and evaluate the competence, professional conduct or the quality and appropriateness of patient care of a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice nurse and ensure that care can be analyzed at the patient and provider level.

These peer reviews help ensure patient safety and maintain a high quality of care. We join the health care industry in support of protections that allow for this peer review process to continue.

SB19-238 Improve Wages And Accountability Home Care Workers

This bill sets a minimum wage for certain home care workers by requiring that at least 77 percent of the reimbursement that a home-care agency receives from Medicare or Medicaid for certain services be passed on to their non-administrative employees that provide those services. Additionally, it directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to seek an 8.1 percent increase from the federal government for these service categories, with the entire amount being applied to the employee compensation. Each agency is also required to make certain disclosures to HCPF, which will then be added to a publicly available website.

This bill will reduce access to care for individuals needing these services by increasing costs to a point that will likely be unsustainable for home-care agencies, potentially putting them out of business. It also created significant privacy concerns for workers. Most importantly, however, it jeopardizes Colorado’s balance between right-to-work and union agreements by creating a back-door option for unionizing these workers. The Chamber has consistently opposed any efforts to weaken the existing Labor Peace Act because its statutory framework has provided a balance to ensure a healthy relationship between business and labor in this state. Colorado’s Labor Peace Act is a unique legal middle ground between right-to-work and union states that has contributed to Colorado’s economic well-being.