The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) established a new task force to address potential adverse impacts on the role of licensed health insurance agents and brokers resulting from the new federal health care reform law. Chaired by NAIC Vice President and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty, the task force will report to the NAIC Executive Committee.
"With the recent issuance by HHS of the medical loss ratio (MLR) regulations to be imposed on insurers, there is a very real possibility the role of health insurance agents will be impacted in a negative way," said McCarty. "Health insurance is a complex product and experienced and licensed agents are a valuable resource for consumers. We intend to work with the agent community and our colleagues at HHS to maintain that resource."
Licensed insurance agents assist consumers facing the many financial decisions related to health insurance coverage. Agents are required to meet standards of continuing education in order to maintain appropriate licenses, ensuring that they remain current in the evolving insurance marketplace.
They play an essential role — guiding consumers through the sometimes confusing changes brought by reform.
The formation of this task force follows the adoption earlier this year of an NAIC resolution to protect the ability of licensed insurance professionals to continue to serve the public. The resolution affirmed the important role of health care insurance agents in providing services to consumers and businesses as standards for implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are developed.
"This is an extremely important issue for the NAIC," said NAIC President and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline. "State insurance regulators recognize the important role of licensed health insurance professionals in serving the needs of individual consumers as well as the business community. We must look at ways to protect their ability to continue serving the public as the new federal law is implemented."