- Report Published -
|Senate Bill 1248 - Mandated Notification of Information on Obesity|
|Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits|
|The Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor referred Senate Bill 1248 to the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits (Advisory Commission) during the 2003 Session of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 1248 was introduced by Senator Yvonne B. Miller.|
The Advisory Commission held a public hearing on July 9, 2003, in Richmond to receive public comments on Senate Bill 1248 in its substitute form. In addition to the patron, Senator Miller, two speakers addressed the proposal. Representatives from the Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP) and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) spoke in opposition to the bill. In addition, written comments in opposition to Senate Bill 1248 were provided by the VAHP and the HIAA.
If enacted, the bill would add § 38.2-3418.14 to the Code of Virginia. The substitute bill would require insurers to offer and make available to a subscriber information regarding obesity. The provisions would be applicable to insurers proposing to issue individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical, or major medical coverage on an expense-incurred basis; corporations providing subscription contracts; and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) providing health care plans. The information may be distributed by direct mailings or made available by posting the information to a website. The information may also be available by establishing a link on an insurer’s existing website to the Office of the Surgeon General’s overweight and obesity website at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity (Appendix B).
The bill defines “obesity” as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, calculated by dividing weight, measured in kilograms, by height that is measured in meters, squared. The bill states that “educational information regarding obesity” includes, but is not limited to, the definition of obesity set forth above, a listing of potential health risks associated with obesity, possible causes of obesity, and the relationship between obesity and inactivity.
The bill does not apply short-term travel, accident-only, limited or specified disease policies, or contracts designed for people eligible for Medicare or similar state or government plans, or short-term nonrenewable policies of not more than six months’ duration.
The bill applies to insurance policies, contracts, and plans delivered, issued for delivery, reissued, or extended on or after July 1, 2003, or at any time thereafter when the term of the policy, contract, or plan is changed or the premium adjustment has occurred.
The Advisory Commission voted unanimously (9 - No, 0 - Yes) on August 13, 2003 to recommend that Senate Bill 1248 not be enacted. The members of the Advisory Commission agreed that obesity is a very serious health issue. The members believed that some insurance companies are already providing educational information regarding obesity. The members concluded that many companies are taking the responsibility and the initiative of educating their employees about health related issues on obesity, nutritional disorders, and weight control along with fitness programs, and a mandate is not necessary at this time.