COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2017
Two of Bills Filed by Senator Lovely Heard by the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
(BOSTON) – This morning at the State House, two bills filed by Senator Joan B. Lovely were heard by the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. Senate No. 649 and Senate No. 650 both aim to provide greater transparency and control for health insurance costs.
S.649, “An Act relative to premium impact statements,” would require both the legislature and state agencies to examine the effects a law or regulation would have on insurance premiums. If this bill were passed, any agency that is considering the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a health care or health insurance related regulation would be required to file a public notice of the proposed change along with a premium impact statement, which would evaluate the effects the change would have on health care premiums. The agency would also be required to hold a public hearing to present the data and hear arguments relative to the premium impact statement. Similarly in the legislature, the House, Senate, and Joint Committees on Ways and Means could not report out favorably any bill relative to health care or health insurance without first obtaining a premium impact statement from the Center for Health Information Analysis.
“With the rising cost of health insurance, it is important to take steps to keep coverage affordable for all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Lovely. “This bill would ensure that decisions affecting health insurance premiums are made with full knowledge of the potential costs and impacts on citizens of the Commonwealth.”
In that same vein, S.650, “An Act relative to review of provider material changes,” would enable the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to conduct an annual review of the status of all mergers, acquisitions, and clinical affiliations it has approved. Such changes need only be approved when they will result in the provider having a near-majority market share in a service or region. This review would allow the HPC to determine if the benefits that providers cited as reasons for the change, such as decreased costs and improved quality and integration of care, have come to fruition. If the HPC determines that the provider has failed to produce the promised results and they have exceeded the health care cost growth benchmark, the provider would be required to issue rebates to employers and consumers in the form of lower premiums.
“I hope that this bill will help to ensure that providers are doing their part to control the rising cost of health insurance,” Senator Lovely said.