HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

 VETERANS' AFFAIRS

 

March 3, 2005 Hearing Room C

8:30 A.M.  Tapes 34 - 35

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Donna Nelson, Chair

Rep. Phil Barnhart, Vice-Chair

Rep. Debi Farr, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Betty Komp

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Stembridge, Committee Administrator

Erin Seiler, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                Introduction of Committee Measures – Work Session

                                                Veterans’ Issues – Informational Meeting

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 34, A

002

Chair Nelson

Opens the committee meeting at 8:39 a.m. Opens a work session for the introduction of committee measures.

INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE MEASURES – WORK SESSION

037

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Summarizes the legislative drafts for introduction as committee measures.

079

Rep. Barnhart

Asks, regarding LC 3125, what the effect of reconnecting to the federal definition of taxable income and how it will affect Oregon taxable income.

099

Rep. Boquist

Estimates that revenue will decrease by $1.6 million dollars over the biennium.

110

Chair Nelson

Confirms that LC 3125 is the measure that exempts veterans’ death benefits from Oregon taxable income. 

115

Rep. Boquist

States that this is a decrease in state revenue of $31,000 dollars over the biennium.

122

Rep. Farr

MOTION:  Moves the following list of LC drafts: BE INTRODUCED as committee bills.

                     LC 3125 (EXHIBIT A)

                     LC 3201 (EXHIBIT B)                                                                                                                                                                                                

                     LC 3202 (EXHIBIT C)

                     LC 3204 (EXHIBIT D)

                     LC 3207 (EXHIBIT E)

                     LC 3228 (EXHIBIT F)

                     LC 3229 (EXHIBIT G)

                     LC 3424 (EXHIBIT H)

                     LC 3425 (EXHIBIT I)

                     LC 3426 (EXHIBIT J)

                     LC 3427 (EXHIBIT K)

                     LC 3206 (EXHIBIT L)

                     LC 3429 (EXHIBIT M)

                     LC 3232 (EXHIBIT N)

                     LC 3434 (EXHIBIT O)

 

 

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Hunt

 

Chair Nelson

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

131

Chair Nelson

Closes the work session on the introduction of committee measures. Opens an informational meeting on Veterans’ Issues.

VETERANS’ ISSUES – INVITED TESTIMONY – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

147

Alfred Brandt

Director of Government Affairs and Marketing United Concordia Companies, Inc.  Addresses issues regarding dental support for Oregon Military National Guard and Reservists.

171

Brandt

Introduces Richard Panepinto and Ty Obenoskey. Clarifies that he does not speak officially for the military, but will provide antidotal information on most issues.

182

Brandt

Discusses the background of the dental program. Addresses why it has not been a successful program.

214

Brandt

Explains that only 3 percent of eligible Reservists nationally and 4 percent of eligible Oregon Reservists participate in the dental program.

242

Brandt

Speaks to the problems with dental coverage and reviews the additional dental programs that take care of the unmet dental needs of Reservists.

271

Brandt

States that the “big question” is how to these individuals to make sure that they have dental needs met.

284

Brandt

Speaks to the responsibility of United Concordia (UC), as the contractor and administrator of the dental program, for marketing the program. Explains that the dental benefits are the same as active duty and are comparable to benefits offered in private industry. 

297

Chair Nelson

Asks what UC marketing and advertising plan is for the dental program.

317

Brandt

Responds that the Reserve Affairs Office has put out the message, including putting brochures in all of their offices, establishing links to local guard websites.

334

Brandt

Acknowledges the difficulties associated with administering the system and the breakdown in chain of communication between UC and soldiers.

354

Brandt

Speaks to the restrictions within UC contract with the DOD that are preventing them from reaching out to soldiers. Explains that the current contract prevents UC from contacting soldiers during boot camp and requires that Reservists pay the dental premium up front.

411

Ty Obenoskey

Dental Benefit Advisor, UC. Explains his responsibility is to travel throughout Oregon, giving briefings to all mobilizing National Guard Units and their family members or upon the request of a unit.  

TAPE 35, A

014

Brandt

Submits UC Dental Marketing packet, which includes benefits booklet, PowerPoint presentation, TRICARE Dental Program information, enrollment form, and informational brochures (EXHIBIT P).  Explains the different co-pay structures for dental services.

032

Brandt

Clarifies that soldiers do have to get new coverage after they leave the Reserves or return to their civilian lives.

045

Rep. Komp

Confirms the premium costs for family enrollment.

051

Brandt

Clarifies the difference in the cost of the premiums for the families of active duty soldiers and families of Reserve soldiers.

060

Chair Nelson

Asks how quickly UC reimburses dental care providers.

064

Brandt

States that there has been good success with repayment schedules because they are required, as a condition of UC contract with DOD.

072

Rich Panepinto

Manager for Benefit Relations, UC. States that if reimbursement requirements are not met, there is a significant financial penalty. Explains the claims reimbursement schedule that UC.

081

Panepinto

Speaks to the primary way of distributing information on the program.

109

Rep. Farr

Asks if there are any areas in Oregon that do not have contracted dental providers.

119

Brandt

Discusses how many participating dentists there are in Oregon.

153

Brandt

Speaks to the primary difficulties that UC has contracting with dental providers.

184

Obenoskey

Explains the “35 mile rule”, which states that if there is no participating dentist within 35 miles of where a family resides and the company cannot locate a contracted provider, then the family can go to go a local dentist and the dentist is reimbursed at full cost.

211

Rep. Boquist

Questions the rational for requiring up-front payment for dental insurance as opposed to pay-roll deductions.

236

Brandt

States that the primary rationale is that many reservists do not always attend drills.

286

Rep. Boquist

Explains the administrative process when Reserve soldiers are activated for duty.

303

Brandt

Confirms that once a soldier is activated, DEERS is notified and they are then eligible for all active duty benefits.

363

Chair Nelson

Comments on the need for an Ombudsman for the National Guard.

TAPE 34, B

020

Rep. Farr

Comments on the high cost of dental services to Reservists (EXHIBIT P, Page 56).

034

Brandt

Acknowledges that the DOD has a critical shortage of dentists.

050

Rep. Barnhart

Asks who establishes the reimbursement rate for dental procedures (EXHIBIT P, Page 56).

059

Brandt

Explains that the company establishes the fee rates paid to dentist, but the contract with the DOD requires that the fees be paid at a specific percentile for participating providers and at a specific percentile for non-participating providers.

076

Rep. Barnhart

Asks for information on the formula that was used as the basis for establishing the cost for dental procedures.

079

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Submits list of participating dentists in Oregon (EXHIBIT Q).

089

Brandt

Explains that the DOD contracts for dental insurance are for five years and that the new contract will be awarded on March 31, 2005.

109

Rep. Boquist

Comments how the Oregon Military Department sends out a monthly to magazine to every soldier in the state, questioning if UC has considered placing an advertisement in the magazine.

121

Panepinto

States that every February the Times magazines includes a TRICARE supplement that details all medical, dental, and healthcare benefits, for soldiers.

132

Chair Nelson

Closes the informational meeting on Veterans’ Issues. Adjourns the meeting at 9:24 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Introductions, LC 3125, staff, 5 pp
  2. Introductions, LC 3201, staff, 2 pp
  3. Introductions, LC 3202, staff, 2 pp
  4. Introductions, LC 3204, staff, 2 pp
  5. Introductions, LC 3207, staff, 2 pp
  6. Introductions, LC 3228, staff, 2 pp
  7. Introductions, LC 3229, staff, 2 pp
  8. Introductions, LC 3424, staff, 2 pp
  9. Introductions, LC 3425, staff, 2 pp
  10. Introductions, LC 3426, staff, 2 pp
  11. Introductions, LC 3427, staff, 2 pp
  12. Introductions, LC 3206, staff, 2 pp
  13. Introductions, LC 3429, staff, 1 p
  14. Introductions, LC 3232, staff, 2 pp
  15. Introductions, LC 3434, staff, 2 pp
  16. Healthcare, United Concordia Dental Program, marketing packet, Alfred Brandt, 77 pp
  17. Healthcare, United Concordia Dental Program, provider list, staff, 11 pp