Health insurance bill up for vote

The New Hampshire House is expected to pass a bill this week that would require that health insurers of businesses with fewer than 50 employees use a standard underwriting form and provide various disclosures so businesses can better compare rates.

The House Commerce Committee unanimously backed Senate Bill 369, which is expected to pass the full when it comes up for a vote April 26.

In other anticipated votes, look for a floor fight on a bill that would require that insurers’ medical directors justify in detail denials of coverage. Supporters argue that this would prevent arbitrary denials. Opponents say that a grievance procedure is in place, making the measure unnecessary and potentially increasing insurance costs.

The House also is expected to pass the following bills to the governor:

• SB 250, which would tighten up lead removal requirements on landlords and allow the attorney general to bring enforcement actions on its own. Currently, the AG’s office has to work with the Department of Human Services.
• SB 273, which would put reasonable accommodations disability requirements into state law.
Some other bills affecting business have run into some roadblocks.

SB 190 – a priority of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire — originally required that zoning laws take into account workplace housing. The Senate amended the measure to send it to a study committee, and even that move is being contested, if a 9-6 report by the Municipal and County Government committee is any indication. The minority wants to kill the study, arguing that anyone could introduce a bill that could provide various housing alternatives.

Also in trouble is SB 267, which would clarify legislation that would give a uniform definition of independent contractors under several state laws governing labor. A House committee voted 12-2 to send the bill to study. – BOB SANDERS

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