#kyga21 & Health Justice Bill Tracker Recap

The 2021 General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on March 30th, and unless called into an Extraordinary Session by the Governor, a.k.a. “Special Session, they will not reconvene until January 4th, 2022. Since they adjourned, the Governor has been reviewing and taking action on the bills delivered to his office the last two days of the Regular Session.
While too many bills this year focused on limiting executive powers in the face of a public health crisis and economic recession, the legislature achieved some significant victories this year in engineering state law towards health justice and health equity. Here is a recap for legislation on our Health Justice Bill Tracker that KVH advocated for and we are excited to see them reach final passage.
HB50 – Mental Health Parity
Rep. Kimberly Moser (HD64) sponsored HB50, defining “classification of benefits” and “nonquantitative treatment limitation” into law. HB50 would also require health insurance to provide comprehensive mental health coverage without arbitrary limits on treatment.
HB53 – Expansion of MAC & TAC
Rep. Kimberly Moser (HD64) sponsored HB53 to increase the number of members for Kentucky’s “TAC’s” — consumer protection engineered Technical Advisory Council for Medical Assistance, Technical Advisory Committee on Consumer Rights & Client Needs, and the Technical Advisory Committee on Behavioral Health. HB53 also creates a Technical Advisory Committee on Persons Returning to Society from Incarceration to act in an advisory capacity to the Advisory Council for Medical Assistance.
HB95 – Cap Insulin Costs
Rep. Danny Bentley (HD98) sponsored HB95 alongside primary co-sponsor Rep. Patti Minter (HD20). HB95 caps the cost-sharing requirements for insulin at $30 per 30-day supply for Kentuckians on the Kentucky Employee Health Plan and all other major, comprehensive medical plans. It does not apply to self-insured ERISA plans and other governmental plans (e.g. universities, city/county governments, etc.).
HB497 – Healthy Reentry
Rep. Kimberly Moser (HD64) sponsored HB497 which is a healthy reentry bill many years in the making. HB497 establishes work supports in the form of photo I.D.s and employability certificates for those leaving incarceration and returning to their communities. Significantly, HB497 lifts the SNAP and TANF drug felony ban, and, 30-days prior to going home, individuals will now be enrolled in Medicaid so that they will have healthcare coverage once they have left incarceration.
SB21 – Homeless Youth Protections
Sen. Ralph Alvarado (SD28) sponsored SB21 to address a transportation problem for youth to go from a hospital without psychiatric services to a hospital with psychiatric services. SB21 also gives permission for all Licensed Mental Heath Professionals to provide service to “unaccompanied” (i.e. homeless) youth, ages 16-17, without needing written consent from the parent or guardian.
SB45 – Prevent Copay Accumulator Adjustments
Sen. Ralph Alvarado (SD28) sponsored SB45 which protects Kentuckians from a costly and burdensome health insurance practice called “co-pay accumulator adjustments”. SB45 requires health insurers to count all payments made by patients directly or on their behalf toward their overall deductible and maximum out-of-pocket costs, unless a generic drug is available.
SB51 – Addiction Treatment Protections
Sen. Ralph Alvarado (SD28) sponsored SB51 to create consumer safety guardrails for individuals being treated for alcohol and opioid use. SB51 prohibits insurers from requiring or using utilization reviews/”prior authorization” for certain prescription drugs (Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naltrexone) when used to treat alcohol or opioid use disorder.
SB55 – Lessen Copay Burdens
Sen. Steve Meredith (SD5) sponsored SB55 which prohibits copayments, cost-sharing, or similar costs to be charged to any Medicaid recipient, their families, the KCHIP program, and Medicaid telehealth services.
SB84 – Dignity Bill Part 2
Sen. Julie Raque Adams (SD36) sponsored SB84 as the “Dignity Bill Part 2” Bill and specifically addresses issues that the growing population of pregnant incarcerated people face. SB84 provides for 6-weeks of post-partum care, ends solitary confinement during pregnancy and in the post-partum period, expands pregnancy medical release to include community based treatment options, provides social workers who can work with pregnant people, and requires the KY Dept. of Corrections to report to the Legislative Research Commission on data for solitary confinement of Kentucky’s incarcerated population.
All these bills and others were a part of our KVH Health Justice Bill Tracker this year. These are terrific pieces of legislation, long overdue healthcare affordability measures, and important steps that build on the ACA to continue making healthcare accessible and affordable for every Kentuckian. Attorney General Daniel Cameron has issued the perennial post-Session opinion for the effective date of legislation (that does not have an emergency clause or other effective date specific within the bill). This year the effective date will be Tuesday, June 29th, 2021.
REMINDER: To review bills that were signed into law or became law without the Governor’s signature, use the Secretary of State’s Executive Journal enacted legislation database. To stay up to date on all legislation from this year, visit the General Assembly’s 2021 bills page