Cross-State Health Insurance Policies
The idea of selling health insurance “across state lines” has gained traction over the past several years and, per its proponents, has the potential to lower the costs of private health insurance for consumers. Those in support of cross-state sales assert they can lead to the proliferation of national and/or regional markets for insurance policies, thereby creating additional competition to drive costs down and offer more alternatives for consumers. Proponents contend cross-state policies, if applied correctly, allow health insurers to bypass burdensome state regulations and expensive benefit mandates that drive costs up and provide little meaningful value for many consumers, particularly younger and healthier people.
It is not widely known that states have the authority to sanction sales across their borders and define the conditions under which such sales can be made. According to the Commonwealth Fund, six states have enacted policies allowing out-of-state health insurance plans in their markets: Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. However, not one out-of-state health insurer has offered policies in a new market that allows cross-state sales. Experts and officials in the insurance industry attribute this to the fact that establishing local provider networks, a necessity for all health insurers, is an extremely difficult and timely undertaking, particularly for an entity based in another state, as it involves negotiating contracts with local doctors and hospitals so that customers can be covered in their respective areas. In fact, setting up a local provider network reportedly is the biggest barrier for insurance companies that may be interested in selling their policies in another state, more so than restrictive regulatory environments or costly benefit mandates.
Bill Introduction Limits and Pre-Filing Requirements in SLC Member States
In recent years, several states and legislative chambers have created a limit on the number of bills that may be introduced each legislative session. Proponents have argued that this will force legislators to only introduce legislation that is likely to pass and may decrease the need for longer sessions or special sessions. In some chambers, the limit only applies after the chamber’s pre-filing deadline. Table 1 displays the limits placed on legislation introduced each session in the 15 Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) member states. Six SLC member states apply a limit in at least one of their legislative chambers.
Table 1. Limits on Bills Introduced Per Session in SLC Member States
|State/Chamber||Limit on Legislation Introduced Per Session|
|Florida House||Six bills per member|
|Florida Senate||No limit|
|Louisiana||Five bills that were not pre-filed|
|North Carolina House||15 bills per member|
|North Carolina Senate||No limit|
|Oklahoma House||Eight bills or joint resolutions per member *|
|Oklahoma Senate||No limit|
|South Carolina||No limit|
|Tennessee House||15 bills per member|
|Tennessee Senate||No limit|
|Virginia House||15 per member in odd-numbered years; five non-pre-filed bills after the pre-filing deadline|
|Virginia Senate||Eight non-pre-filed bills after the pre-filing deadline|
|West Virginia||No limit|
* There are exceptions to this limit. See the section on Oklahoma for more information.
Fixed-Rate Tuition Pricing
Three Southern Legislatures — North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas — have enacted statewide, fixed-rate tuition pricing for in-state undergraduate students attending public universities. Under fixed-rate tuition policies, incoming freshmen and qualifying transfer students are guaranteed a constant tuition rate until they graduate, under specified conditions. Only one other state in the nation, Illinois, has a similar statewide policy.
North Carolina General Statutes
In-state freshmen or transfer undergraduate students who have been admitted to any constituent institution of The University of North Carolina receive fixed-rate tuition for eight semesters of a four-year bachelor’s degree and 10 semesters of a five-year bachelor’s degree. A student must maintain continuous enrollment at their university of choice during the entire tuition period to continue receiving the fixed-rate tuition. At the end of the fixed-rate tuition period, the cost of tuition for all remaining semesters is charged at the current tuition rate of the institution.
Effective 2016-2017 academic year
The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education must offer incoming in-state students a fixed-rate tuition plan for four years or more, depending on the length of a bachelor’s program, as determined by the institution. Students who choose to participate in the fixed-rate tuition plan must maintain continuous enrollment for the duration of their bachelor’s program.
Institutions must provide to students the annual tuition rate and the percentage increase of regular tuition for the previous four academic years, as well as the annual tuition rate and percentage increases that would need to occur during the following four years for the traditional tuition plan to surpass the costs of the fixed-rate tuition plan of their selected bachelor’s program. The costs of fixed-rate tuition plans cannot exceed 115 percent of the traditional tuition plans during the same academic year.
Effective 2008-2009 academic year
Texas Education Code
In the past several years, many states have introduced laws aimed at curbing human trafficking of both minors and adults. States have especially focused on increasing penalties for those convicted of trafficking, with more severe punishments when the victim involved is a minor. Punishments include decades of imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have passed such measures in the past three to four years.
All states in the Southern region have passed anti-trafficking legislation to some degree. Provisions found in prior pieces of legislation include:
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