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Session Information

2004 Regular Session Highlights

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by: Carla Roberts
(225) 342-9541


House Bill 344 by Representative Carter (Act 751 ) is a bill requested by the DOI which has been working the previous year with the Dept. Of Health & Hospitals (hereinafter DHH) toward obtaining a HIFA (Health Insurance Flexibility & Accountability) Waiver. A HIFA waiver is a document which can be obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services which allows for greater flexibility in the state’s use of federal medicaid dollars. According to the departments, legislation was needed to authorize the state to negotiate with the federal government for a HIFA waiver. H.B. 344 authorizes DOI and DHH to obtain a HIFA waiver and to use medicaid money to establish a program to subsidize eligible employees to purchase health insurance through their employer’s health plan.

House Bill 1211 by Representative Shepherd (Act 431) requires all health insurance companies, that sell health insurance policies in Louisiana, to waive the co-pay for all childhood immunizations. The health insurance plans put forth little opposition to the mandated waiver of co-payments even though this mandate cost shifting would cost the plans $3.2 million annually. Senator Irons attempted to amend the bill on the Senate floor to require any health insurance policy which provides coverage for prescription drugs to cover prescription birth control drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. That amendment was narrowly defeated. A similar bill (House Bill 732 by Representative K. Carter -entire subject matter tabled) requiring contraceptive coverage was tabled on the House floor after House members objected that the mandated coverage had a $18.3 million per year price tag.


Senate Bill 731 by Senator Cain (Act 711) establishes the Louisiana Theft and Fraud Insurance Prevention Authority. The Fund would be established within the Department of Insurance (hereinafter DOI) for the purpose of combating motor vehicle insurance fraud, including fraud by theft. Empowers the DOI to solicit grants, donations and loans which can be used to provide financial assistance to state prosecutors to prosecute insurance fraud. According to committee testimony by the DOI, many district attorneys have complained that their budgets are stretched to the limit with costs associated with prosecuting violent crime. The fund would allow the DOI to collect money from, among other entities, national insurance companies who are willing to make donations to the fund to be used to hire prosecutors to prosecute insurance fraud.

Senate Bill 215 by Senator Fields (defeated in House Committee on Insurance)would have prohibited the use of credit scoring to set, cancel, fail to renew, or increase the premiums on any liability policy. The measure passed the full Senate but was voted down in the House Committee on Insurance.

House Bill 349 by Representative Hebert (Act 826) defines an insurance claim as an incident where there is a request for payment by an insured and when such request results in an actual payment by the insurer. According to testimony before the Senate Committee on Insurance, that when homeowners have previously contacted their homeowner’s insurance agent or company to inquire about coverage, the companies considered this inquiry as a "claim" for purposes of determining whether to raise rates or cancel coverage. The act applies to both homeowner and auto insurance policies.

Senate Bill 157 by Senator Cain (Act 689) clarifies conflicting provisions issued in certain burial policies which were sold prior to 1997. The law required the policies to list the items which would be included in the funeral and to also list the face dollar amount of the policy. Problems arose in the funeral industry when inflation caused the dollar amount listed on the policy to be inadequate to cover the full costs of a funeral. S.B. 157 clarifies that when the dollar amount on the policy is inadequate to cover the costs of the funeral, the policy holder is entitled to a credit toward the cost of a funeral or the payment of that dollar amount.

Questions and comments may be directed to websen@legis.la.gov
Baton Rouge, Louisiana.