Update on bills of interest in Legislature

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The 65th Montana Legislature finished its fifth week on Feb. 3. Some bills of interest to the Flathead Valley are Senate Bill 96, Senate Bill 129, and House Bill 191.

SB 96 is titled “An Act Establishing the Montana Right to Shop Act.” It requires health insurers to develop and implement an incentive program that allows health care consumers to shop for services and to share in any resulting savings to the insurer. It requires providers to develop cost estimates for services at the request of the consumer, and makes failure to adhere to requirements an unfair or deceptive practice under 30-14-1. It passed second reading on the Senate floor with a 35-13 vote. It was referred to Finance and Claims Committee for General Fund considerations.

SB 129 is titled “An Act Requiring Insurance Coverage for Dental Services Offered by Telemedicine.” There are instances where using technology to communicated with a dentist is not only time saving, but with individuals that have difficulty getting out, much safer. Having insurance coverage of this service could be beneficial to all parties. SB 129 passed second reading on the Senate floor with a 45-3 vote.

HB 191 is titled “Provide Inflationary Increases for ANB Funding.” It applies inflationary increases to the basic public education entitlement, per-student payment from the state entitlement, quality educator payment, the Indian education for all payment, the American Indian achievement gap payment, and the data for achievement payment. HB 191 passed second reading on the Senate floor with a 48-1 vote. It was referred to Finance and Claims Committee for general fund considerations. These bills and others can be viewed and track through the legislative process at leg@mt.gov.

Republican Keith Regier represents Senate District 3.

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