PIANH 2012 legislative wrap-up
After months of work, the 2011-12 legislative has come to a close. The House and Senate now must take final action on all remaining bills, and both bodies are hedging their bets by resurrecting key bills killed by the other side.
As for insurance-related legislation, a number of bills continue to receive attention. They are:
Insurance mandates. A major initiative to reform insurance mandates (H.B.309) includes: making insurance coverage for certified midwives optional; requiring utilization review for coverage for children’s early intervention therapy services, diagnosis and treatment of pervasive developmental disorder or autism, and hearing aids; clarifying the coverage for hearing aids; clarifying the group coverage for obesity and morbid obesity; and establishing a committee to study current New Hampshire insurance mandates. The bill passed the House with amendments and as of March 21, 2012, remained in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Technical changes. S.B.221 makes technical changes to life, accident and health insurance. The bill was signed by Gov. John Lynch on May 29, 2012, as Chapter 99 of the Laws of 2012, and becomes effective July 28, 2012.
Exempt forms. H.B.1622 would exempt forms adopted by the insurance commissioner from rulemaking requirements. This bill was signed by Gov. John Lynch on May 29, 2012, as Chapter 93 of the Laws of 2012, and becomes effective July 28, 2012.
Limited liability companies. S.B.203 would revise laws governing limited liability companies. The bill amends the New Hampshire limited liability company act (originally enacted in 1993 and then significantly amended in 1997) to retain most of the provisions of the current act, but adds numerous important features to make it significantly more user-friendly for small businesses.
At the same time, the revised act fully preserves, and in fact increases, its usefulness for larger businesses. The new features include: a new overall structure that will make it substantially easier for LLC members and managers and their attorneys to find provisions relevant to their concerns;
This bill also contains a number of new provisions that will increase the flexibility of the act and enhance the ability of both small and large New Hampshire businesses to tailor their LLCs to meet members’ and managers’ needs and interests. These provisions include validating oral and implied operating agreements of LLCs that lack written agreements. This bill was signed by Gov. John Lynch on June 18, 2012, as Chapter 232 of the Laws of 2012. Sections 1-11 take effect Jan. 1, 2013, Section 14 on Dec. 1, 2012, and the remainder upon signature.
Previously, contractors were required to meet all 12 criteria in a 12-prong test identified in the state’s workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation laws to be considered an independent contractor. The 12-point rules have been in effect since Jan. 1, 2008.
The bill was sought because classifying an individual as an independent contractor has been fraught with risk because misclassification by employers can lead to fines, workers’ compensation violations, unemployment compensation and tax fines. Complicating things further, no less than three New Hampshire agencies (the Department of Labor, Commission for Human Rights and Employment Security) use different tests to determine an individual’s employment status. The selection of the appropriate test depends on the purpose for the determination and on which administrative agency the matter is pending.
The bill would amend multiple sections of law to establish that if the person holds himself or herself out to be in business for himself or herself or is registered with the state as a business and the person has continuing or recurring business liabilities or obligations, he or she shall be considered an independent contractor. The bill was signed by Gov. John Lynch on June 7, 2012, as Chapter 139 of the Laws of 2012, and becomes effective Aug. 6, 2012. 4/13
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