Gov. Gary Herbert in March signed law allowing insurers to set evidence-based guidelines for opioid prescriptions. Beginning this year, insurers must by Sept. 1 each year submit report to Insurance Department on their prescription policy. Insurers may share their rules with other insurers and may use 2016 CDC guidelines for opioid chronic pain prescriptions or similar Utah guidelines. Applies to workers comp, commercial insurers, state Medicaid program and public employee insurers. >> Herbert also signed law allowing state-chartered Workers Compensation Fund to convert to mutual corporation. It must file amended articles of incorporation with the Department of Insurance by end of year. New contract for residual market must be executed by Dec. 31, 2020. DOI must solicit bids from other carriers, though Workers Compensation Fund may bid.
State Senate approves continuing “private-option” Medicaid-expansion program through June 30, 2016. It uses federal funds to buy private insurance for low-income residents. Senate also creates task force to study alternatives to the initiative, a first of its kind in the nation. Both bills in state House at press time. >> Workers Compensation Research Institute finds 63% of injured workers in state had at least one comorbid condition or had smoked for at least 10 years. Hypertension, reported by 28%, was most common comorbidity; diabetes and lung conditions were reported by 8% and 6%, respectively.
Compensation Insurance Rating Board submits overall workers comp rate decrease of about 4.5%, effective Oct. 1. >> Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered state Department of Health to ban insurers that leave state’s Affordable Care Act exchange from participating in other state programs, including Medicaid. Also directed Department of Financial Services, which oversees insurance, to require insurers to continue covering services mandated under ACA, irrespective of repeal/replace at federal level.