COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Guidance
December 21, 2021
Recently, HB 2001 was signed into law which provides that employers who implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement must exempt employees who refuse due to a sincerely held religious belief or for medical reasons when such employees submit a written waiver explaining those reasons.
Employers should be aware of these developments (and note that such requirements are aligned with federal guidance). For more information on the federal vaccine mandates, see our original article on the federal mandate in the November 9, 2021, edition of Compliance Corner.
HB 2001 »
Expanded Use of Telemedicine
April 13, 2021
Effective April 1, 2021, Senate Bill 283 (S.B. 283) continues the state's response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency by extending the expanded use of telemedicine, among other items. Of note, physicians are now able to issue a prescription for a controlled substance without conducting an in-person examination. In addition, a physician under quarantine may practice telemedicine, as can out-of-state physicians without having a Kansas license (meeting certain requirements).
This new law is not directed at employers, but it does provide additional support for the use of telemedicine by plan participants.
S.B. 283 »
Commissioner Reminds Providers of Obligations Under FFCRA and CARES
December 22, 2020
On December 16, 2020, Commissioner Schmidt published an open letter to providers of health services in the state about the administration of COVID-19 testing to residents. In the letter, she reminded providers of the fact that the FFCRA and CARES requires health pans and insurers must provide coverage for diagnostic COVID-19 testing, including the administration of the tests, without cost sharing. Federal law allows the provider to be reimbursed at a rate negotiated with the plan or insurer, or absent such an arrangement, at a rate listed by the provider on its public website. The commissioner admonished providers against engaging in price gouging practices when charging insurers and plans for these services.
Group health plan sponsors should be aware of these developments.
Commissioner Schmidt’s Letter to Providers »
Statute Creates Workshare Program
September 29, 2020
On June 8, 2020, Gov. Kelly signed HB 2016 into law. This statute, among other things, creates a workshare program to help employers who face making layoffs keep their employees. If the employer meets certain requirements under the program, the employer may reduce the number of hours its workforce can work (and pay the workers a correspondingly reduced rate) and the state will pay up to 20% of the rest of the workers’ normal pay. Among the requirements under the program, the employer must agree that certain benefits provided to those workers, such as health insurance, will continue to be provided to those workers as if they were still working regular hours.
Employers who are facing economic pressure to lay off workers should be aware of this development, and the way it would particularly affect benefits such as health insurance.
HB 2016 »
Executive Order No. 20-35
June 09, 2020
On May 26, 2020, Gov. Kelly issued Executive Order No. 20-35, which extends the provisions found in previous order No. 20-08 until June 30, 2020. The previous order directs the state’s Board of Healing Arts to allow physicians to issue prescriptions without first conducting an in-person examination. The order also encourages physicians to utilize telemedicine services, and allows out-of-state physicians (and professionals in other healthcare professions regulated by the board) to utilize telemedicine services without first obtaining a license in the state, provided that they notify the board in writing and the licenses in their home states are in good standing.
Employers with plans regulated by the state or with employees in the state should be aware of the expanded scope of telehealth services in the state.
Executive Order 20-35 »
Executive Order Regarding Telehealth Services
March 31, 2020
On March 20, 2020, Gov. Kelley issued Executive Order 20-08 to encourage citizens to use telehealth services whenever possible. To that end, the bulletin prohibits the Kansas physician licensing board from enforcing any statute, rule or regulation that requires physicians to conduct an in-person examination of a patient prior to the issuance of a prescription, as long as the physician otherwise complies with the executive order. In addition, the executive order encourages physicians to utilize telemedicine services and temporarily expands telemedicine, including allowing out-of-state physicians to use telemedicine with patients without having a Kansas license (meeting certain requirements).
This order is not directed at employers, but it does provide additional support for the use of telemedicine by plan participants.
Executive Order 20-08 »
COVID-19 Insurance Updates
March 31, 2020
On March 13, 2020, the Insurance Department issued a press release stating that all major carriers in the state volunteered to waive cost sharing requirements relating to the COVID-19 testing.
Employers with policies regulated by Kansas should be aware of this development.
Press Release »
Plans Can’t Deny Mammograms
August 21, 2018
On Aug. 8, 2018, Commissioner of Insurance Selzer issued Bulletin 2018-2. The bulletin clarifies the requirements found in K.S.A. 40-2230, which require insurers that cover laboratory or x-ray services to cover mammograms. The Bulletin clarifies that for these purposes, the term “mammogram” includes tomosynthesis (3D mammography). Additionally, the cost sharing limits imposed on tomosynthesis must be the same as the ones applied to any other type of mammography.
The clarification in this Bulletin applies to plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2019.
Bulletin 2018-2 »
Plans Can’t Exclude Telemedicine
June 12, 2018
On May 12, 2018, Gov. Colyer sign HB 2028 into law, establishing the Kansas Telemedicine Act. This act provides that plans can’t exclude health care services from coverage solely because they’re provided through telemedicine rather than through in-person treatment. Under the Act, telemedicine means the delivery of health care services for a plan participant that’s located at an originating site from a health care provider located at a distant site.
That Act also defines which practitioners can constitute health care providers and mandates that plans can’t require additional documentation of telemedicine patients. Additionally, insurance issuers must establish payment or reimbursement for telemedicine expenses in the same way they establish them for in-person services.
Plan sponsors should consider this requirement to offer telemedicine for fully-insured plans based out of Kansas.
HB 2028 »
Kansas Enacts Pharmacy Patients Fair Practices Act
June 12, 2018
On March 29, 2018, Gov. Colyer signed SB 351 into law, enacting the Pharmacy Patients Fair Practices Act. This Act requires that copayments on prescription drugs not exceed the total charges submitted by the network pharmacy. Additionally, pharmacists and pharmacies have the right to provide individuals covered under the plan with information on the amount of the cost share of the prescription and information on more affordable alternatives, if available. The law doesn’t apply to polices that provide coverage for limited benefits, such as specified disease, accident-only, credit, dental, disability income, hospital indemnity or long-term care insurance coverage.
The law is effective for contracts entered into or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Although this law doesn’t directly affect employer plan sponsors, they should be aware of plan participants’ rights under this law.
SB 351 »