From Collector: State Legislative Trends to Watch

Expect to hear a lot about data security, medical debt, student loan licensing and wage garnishment in the coming year.

1/10/2020 8:00 AM

NewsStateCollector Magazine
From Collector: State Legislative Trends to Watch

While political bickering and deadlock dominate much of the activity occurring in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures continue to drive legal activity affecting collection agencies. State legislation that has gone into effect in recent months signals several trends that may see additional action as legislatures reconvene in 2020, Collector magazine Communications Consultant Tim Dressen reports.

Developments surrounding data security, medical debt, student loan licensing and wage garnishment highlight the need to update practices to account for changing requirements and to remain alert for similar bills likely to surface in other states.

Data Security

Fueled in part by major data breaches and concerns over how technology companies use personal information, consumer data privacy continues to be a hot-button issue for state legislatures. In 2019, two dozen states considered data privacy legislation. Although most didn’t pass new privacy laws, a handful did—and 2020 is likely to see another flurry of privacy legislation debates in state houses across the country.

Previously passed privacy laws have been going into effect, including The California Consumer Privacy Act and New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act, highlighting the need for businesses that handle personal data to regularly review and update their data-handling policies and procedures.

Medical Debt Collection

With medical debt occupying a significant portion of most agencies’ work, health care legislation is always a hot topic for ACA International members.

In Washington last year, Gov. Jay Inslee signed H.B. 1531 into law. It became effective July 28, 2019, and prohibits health care providers from selling or assigning medical debt to a collection agency until at least 120 days after the initial billing statement has been sent to the patient or other responsible party.

Agencies collecting medical debt in Washington should review the law’s itemization requirements and update their policies and procedures regarding what triggers a request.

More than two dozen states have implemented some form of law aimed at protecting patients from surprise out-of-network bills, and the trend shows no signs of letting up.

For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed bipartisan bill S.B. 1264 in June 2019. Essentially, when a medical provider and insurer disagree over the price of a service covered by a state-regulated health plan, the law requires them to work it out without involving the patient, reducing surprise medical charges. The law’s implementation date was Jan. 1, 2020. Federally regulated plans are exempt from these laws unless Congress chooses to enact similar federal legislation.

Student loan licensing and wage garnishment also dominated state law trends in the last year. Read more in Dressen’s report, “Four State Legislative Trends to Watch,” in the January issue of Collector magazine and listen to ACA Cast: “Forecasting State Level Politics in an Election Year” for more insights on the topic from ACA's Vice President of State and Government Affairs Andrew Madden.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

From Collector: State Legislative Trends to Watch

While political bickering and deadlock dominate much of the activity occurring in the U.S. Congress, state legislatures continue to drive legal activity affecting collection agencies. State legislation that has gone into effect in recent months signals several trends that may see additional action as legislatures reconvene in 2020, Collector magazine Communications Consultant Tim Dressen reports.

Developments surrounding data security, medical debt, student loan licensing and wage garnishment highlight the need to update practices to account for changing requirements and to remain alert for similar bills likely to surface in other states.

Data Security

Fueled in part by major data breaches and concerns over how technology companies use personal information, consumer data privacy continues to be a hot-button issue for state legislatures. In 2019, two dozen states considered data privacy legislation. Although most didn’t pass new privacy laws, a handful did—and 2020 is likely to see another flurry of privacy legislation debates in state houses across the country.

Previously passed privacy laws have been going into effect, including The California Consumer Privacy Act and New York’s Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act, highlighting the need for businesses that handle personal data to regularly review and update their data-handling policies and procedures.

Medical Debt Collection

With medical debt occupying a significant portion of most agencies’ work, health care legislation is always a hot topic for ACA International members.

In Washington last year, Gov. Jay Inslee signed H.B. 1531 into law. It became effective July 28, 2019, and prohibits health care providers from selling or assigning medical debt to a collection agency until at least 120 days after the initial billing statement has been sent to the patient or other responsible party.

Agencies collecting medical debt in Washington should review the law’s itemization requirements and update their policies and procedures regarding what triggers a request.

More than two dozen states have implemented some form of law aimed at protecting patients from surprise out-of-network bills, and the trend shows no signs of letting up.

For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed bipartisan bill S.B. 1264 in June 2019. Essentially, when a medical provider and insurer disagree over the price of a service covered by a state-regulated health plan, the law requires them to work it out without involving the patient, reducing surprise medical charges. The law’s implementation date was Jan. 1, 2020. Federally regulated plans are exempt from these laws unless Congress chooses to enact similar federal legislation.

Student loan licensing and wage garnishment also dominated state law trends in the last year. Read more in Dressen’s report, “Four State Legislative Trends to Watch,” in the January issue of Collector magazine and listen to ACA Cast: “Forecasting State Level Politics in an Election Year” for more insights on the topic from ACA's Vice President of State and Government Affairs Andrew Madden.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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