NEW FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS GO INTO EFFECT JAN. 1, 2016

News Release from Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services

Posted on FlashAlert: December 30th, 2015 8:55 AM

Salem -- The 2015 Legislature passed many new consumer protection bills that take effect starting Jan. 1, 2016. The following is a sample of the bills the Department of Consumer and Business Services is implementing that will provide valuable benefits or rights to consumers.

Protection from unlicensed lenders: Senate Bill 278

Makes it illegal for unlicensed payday and title lenders to deposit a consumer’s check, withhold money, or collect interest, fees, or charges on loans. The bill also clarifies that illegal loan agreements made by an unlicensed lender are void if made on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Guaranteed 90-day prescription drug supply: Senate Bill 93

Allows consumers to receive up to a 90-day supply of most prescription medicines under their insurance plans when consumers have a sufficient number of authorized refills available.

Expanding access to telemedicine: Senate Bill 144

Requires health insurance plans to provide coverage for telemedicine services. All health benefit plans, including any self-insured or public employee health plans, must cover health care services delivered by videoconference. These provisions apply to health plans issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Expanding access to birth control: House Bill 2879 and House Bill 3343

HB 2879 allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control, reducing the need for women to visit a doctor for their contraceptive prescriptions. HB 3343 requires insurers to cover a full year of birth control, reducing gaps in coverage and access.

Expanding personal injury protection: Senate Bill 411

Allows auto insurance consumers to receive up to the full amount of underinsured coverage if they are injured by an at-fault, underinsured driver, in addition to any claims payments they receive from the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. Also, personal injury protection (PIP) medical benefits are extended to two years; insurance companies are limited in seeking reimbursement of PIP benefits from claim settlements. These provisions apply to auto insurance policies issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Patient’s right to privacy: House Bill 2758

Guarantees patients the right to have protected health information sent directly to them instead of to the person who pays for their health insurance plan (the primary account holder). These provisions apply to health plans issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2016.

Long-term care insurance coverage protection: House Bill 2850

Requires an insurer to get the name and contact information for an alternate person to receive premium bills before issuing a long-term care insurance policy. It also requires that in order for a lapse in coverage to be effective, an insurance company must provide written notice -- including why the policy will lapse -- at least 30 days before the policy lapses.

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