Supporters of Broker Bill Keep Pushing NAIC to Support Measure

CQ HEALTHBEAT NEWS
Nov. 17, 2011 – 4:42 p.m.

Supporters of Broker Bill Keep Pushing NAIC to Support Measure

By Rebecca Adams, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

A bill that would change the Obama administration’s medical loss ratio to benefit insurance agents and brokers does not appear to be moving in Congress. But its supporters hope that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners will give the measure a boost next week by endorsing it.

The NAIC is poised next Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bill (H.R.1206), sponsored by House Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan, in a public conference call.

Under the medical loss ratio regulations created by the health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), insurance companies in the individual and small group market must spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care or quality improvements rather than administrative costs. The brokers’ fees are considered administrative costs. Brokers say that means insurance companies are cutting their fees in order to trim administrative expenses.

Rogers’ bill would exempt fees charged by health insurance brokers from being classified as administrative costs under the medical loss ratio regulations. The bill had 138 cosponsors, including 18 Democrats, as of Thursday.

That is not nearly enough support to get the bill through the House, and Rogers’ office did not indicate that any action on it is imminent.

However, backers of the bill are not giving up. They are pressuring NAIC officials to support the measure, and a draft resolution is being considered.

Advocates for the bill have been pushing NAIC officials to support it for months.

Rogers said that agents and brokers play an important role in the economy and in helping consumers.

“Preserving jobs and consumer access to licensed insurance agents and brokers is still an urgent issue that needs to be addressed,” said Rogers, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, in a written statement. “Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle understand the important role that the 500,000 agents and brokers play in providing health care services.”

Source: CQ Online News

Same-day coverage of the people and events shaping health care policy from Washington.

© 2011 CQ Roll Call All Rights Reserved.

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