NAIFA Bill Included in Omnibus Policy Package!
Victory! NAIFA’s highest 2020 legislative priority was part of a package of HHS policy provisions that was approved by the Senate HHS Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday. The bill is a bipartisan compromise between the DFL House, GOP Senate and Governor Walz. It is expected to be passed and signed into law in the coming days. The package includes the provisions of S.F. 3488 (Dahms, R-Redwood Falls), which requires health care providers to release medical records to patients or their representatives within 30 calendar days of receipt.
The bill was NAIFA’s focus for the 2020 session and is moving to become law despite the strong opposition of medical records companies and hospitals. Passage of NAIFA’s bill will expedite carriers being able to underwrite and make decisions about applications for life, disability and long-term care coverage. This is good news for NAIFA members, whose work to get applications submitted and considered have too often been stymied by providers not releasing medical records in a timely manner. THANK YOU to all NAIFA members who contacted their local legislators during the session to voice support for this effort. NAIFA’s grassroots efforts paid off and demonstrated yet again that when members are united and focused, we can be effective and successful.
Senate Commerce Passes Family and Medical Leave Bill
The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee on Tuesday heard and passed S.F. 4352 (Johnson, R-East Grand Forks). The bill authorizes insurance companies to sell paid family leave income replacement benefits. The Minnesota Insurance and Financial Services Council testified in support of S.F. 4352, which is a voluntary product. This is a different approach to the bill passed by the House last session. That bill, HF5 (Halverson, DFL-Eagan), funded a family and medical leave program via a mandatory payroll tax. The House bill is opposed by NAIFA-Minnesota, insurers, the Minnesota Chamber and others. S.F. 4352 was approved and sent to the Senate floor. The likely outcome this session on family and medical leave is no action.
Representative Halverson Won’t Seek Reelection
Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan) announced on Monday that she would not seek reelection to a 5th term in November. Halverson will be seeking election to the Dakota County Board. Halverson currently Chairs the Committee on Commerce, which has jurisdiction over insurance companies, as well as agents and financial planners. Halverson defeated former Rep. Doug Wardlow by a narrow 3-point margin in 2012, but has easily won reelection since then, getting over 60% in her most recent elections. Halverson is a respected member of the House and her door has always been open to meet with NAIFA members and lobbyists. She will be missed as a thoughtful and reasonable legislator.