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Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Privacy legislation approved in Senate

Bill protects consumers’ health, financial data

April 6, 2001

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— Legislation protecting the privacy of Kansans' health and financial information cleared the Senate on a 39-1 vote Thursday and now returns to the House for review of amendments.

The bill updates state law in accordance with model legislation that was approved last year by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

"Without question, Kansans should control their own personal health and financial information," Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement after the vote.

Supporters said the measure ensures that financial institutions, health-care providers and insurance companies do not share medical information without permission.

In addition, insurance companies could not sell patients' personal health information, such as lists of patients with specific conditions.

The Senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Dave Corbin, R-Towanda, to increase the tax paid by insurance companies on premiums. Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, said the increase would have raised $7 million to $10 million a year for the state.

Democrats objected that the proposal had not been considered in committee, while conservative Republicans opposed increasing taxes.

Corbin cast the lone vote against the bill.

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