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PIA Comments on NAIC Task Force on Role of Agents and Brokers in Healthcare

A new NAIC task force can play an important role in helping to ensure that licensed agents and brokers are fairly compensated for the services...
December 7, 2010

A new NAIC task force can play an important role in helping to ensure that licensed agents and brokers are fairly compensated for the services they provide in the wake of healthcare reform, according to PIA. The NAIC says the new task force, which holds its first meeting this month, is designed to protect insurance agents and brokers from the healthcare reform law's side effects.

"The task force can also help to dispel any notion that the health insurance exchanges should be set up as mere 'web portals' that provide consumers with a lesser degree of service by providing them with too few choices and making them fend for themselves," said PIA National Senior Vice President of Communications Ted Besesparis, in an article on BestWire.

The task force was created after the NAIC adopted a resolution in August that recognized the "indispensable" role of agents and brokers in the evolving health insurance market. Passage of the  resolution and formation of the task force followed a decision by the NAIC to decline to put to a vote a proposal to exclude producer compensation from Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) calculations. That recommendation, which was subsequently adopted by the federal department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was decried by agents and brokers as undermining their traditional role in the marketplace.

What It Means to Agents: The promise of this task force must be matched by action. The NAIC missed an opportunity to protect agents' interests when it submitted its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) without an amendment that would have excluded agent compensation from MLR calculations. The argument made by the NAIC that it lacked the authority to make such a recommendation rings hollow. A similar rationale was then cited by HHS when it accepted the NAIC's recommendation, closing the circle that now threatens to shut agents and brokers out. It is now up to this task force to demonstrate that it wants agents to be involved and fairly compensated, and that this effort is real - not just a sop to agents and brokers.

Click here to read NAIC Forms Producer Task Force (BestWire 12/3/10)
 
Click here to read New NAIC Task Force to Address Role of Agents (NAIC 11/24/10)
 
Click here to read NAIC Resolution (Adopted 8/17/10)

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