DiSanto’s Banking & Insurance Committee Approves Bills to Assure Patient Access to Medical Care

Harrisburg – As Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) held a voting meeting to approve bills to assure patient access to medical services and prescription drugs, authorize telemedicine services, ensure annuity recommendations are in the consumer’s best interest, and modernize the insurance agent licensing process.

Senate Bill 225, introduced by Senator Phillips-Hill, seeks to streamline and standardize the prior authorization of medically necessary health care services and prescription drugs. Health providers report many administrative barriers when obtaining insurance company approvals for tests, medications, and procedures that have led to unnecessary delays in patient care. This legislation imposes timely deadlines to expedite prior authorization and important protections to respect the doctor-patient relationship and need for individualized treatment.

“Reforming the prior authorization process is essential to improving the patient experience,” DiSanto said. “Patients ought to have access to appropriate treatments in a timely manner, and I look forward to continuing to lead negotiations between key industry stakeholders as this legislation advances.”

Senate Bill 705, introduced by Senator Vogel, expressly authorizes the use of telemedicine services in Pennsylvania. The bill establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.

“Telemedicine played an instrumental role in patient access to quality health care services during the pandemic,” said DiSanto. “This legislation ensures patients will continue to enjoy the convenience and innovation of telemedicine services well into the future.”

Senate Bill 772, introduced by Senator DiSanto, improves the marketing and financial stability of annuities by updating Pennsylvania’s annuity law to reflect changes made by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The legislation imposes a higher standard of conduct on insurance agents and brokers to require all annuity recommendations be in the consumer’s best interest.

House Bill 1349, introduced by Representative Pickett, permits the Insurance Department to electronically process national criminal history records. The bill modernizes and expedites the background check process for insurance brokers and agents.

These bills now go to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman 717-787-6801 cerdman@pasen.gov