NY Agents Meet to Strategize on Exchange Issues

N.Y. insurance agents to plot response to health reform March 11

A meeting involving several insurance trade groups in New York March 11 will seek to develop a unified response to federal health reform and the role agents will play in the state.

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York has invited several state insurance producer groups, including the New York State Association of Health Underwriters, for the meeting in Albany, N.Y.

The IIABNY said the agenda for the meeting in Albany, N.Y., will include discussion on how New York will carry out new federal health insurance mandates, including the forth-coming New York health insurance exchange.

“Since federal health care reform became law last year, our legislative advocacy team has made a top priority of ensuring a role for producers in the health insurance exchange,” said IIABNY’s board chairman David M. Gelia in a statement. “This face-to-face chat with other members of the New York producer community will help us all create an effective plan for meeting that objective.”

Organizers say they hope the various groups will agree on common approaches for influencing how the New York exchange will work and protecting the role of producers in it.

“Health insurance is complex, with many coverage and cost-sharing options,” Gelia noted. “Consumers need professional insurance advice as they sift through the choices. We want to make sure that the exchange makes that advice available to them.”

President Barack Obama signed the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010. Under the law, every state must set up and operate a health insurance exchange by 2014. The exchanges will be competitive insurance marketplaces offering varieties of plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Small businesses and individuals whose employers do not offer health insurance will be able to purchase coverage from the exchanges; the law requires members of Congress to do so.

The IIABNY board of directors last fall created a health care reform task force, headed by Jack Smith of Newburgh, N.Y.-based William A. Smith & Son.

The task force is studying the issues surrounding the law’s implementation; reviewing existing models for state exchanges; and developing guidance for the New York Insurance Department.

The meeting is part of the process for creating the recommendations.

The IIABNY more than 1,750 insurance agencies and their 13,000 employees.

Kevin Wrege

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

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