For NAIC, Some Signals Suggest Broker Bill Is Losing Traction
The Hill reports that a spokeswoman for the chairman of the NAIC's Professional Health Insurance Advisors Task Force said no major action on the issue was planned for the group's conference. In other news, MSNBC reports that, as insurance prices rise, options appear to diminish, creating questions about how much relief the health law will provide. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explores health reform's winners and losers.
Politico Pro: Broker Bill Fades For NAIC
It's looking less likely that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners will endorse legislation pulling brokers' commissions out of the medical loss ratio formula, according to those watching the issue closely. The group's executive committee last month decided to put off further action on whether to endorse a bill from Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.) to remove broker fees from the MLR calculation for administrative expenses. And before this week's NAIC conference was canceled because of Hurricane Irene, those deeply involved in the broker issue were only expecting the MLR issue to come up in passing — a far different attitude than the insurance commissioners" March meeting. A spokeswoman for Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, chairman of the NAIC's Professional Health Insurance Advisors Task Force and one of the broker bill's biggest advocates, said no major action was planned for the conference (Millman, 8/29).
MSNBC: With Prices Rising, Fewer Health Insurance Options
Indeed, the cost of health insurance coverage on the open market keeps climbing. Some employers are cutting back or eliminating health coverage. The subsidy for expensive COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) coverage, implemented in 2009 to provide a 65 percent discount, expires at the end of this month. Meanwhile, nearly 14 million Americans are still out of work. These factors are all contributing to the growing number of uninsured Americans, which reached a record 50 million in 2009, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census. This year, the numbers don't look any better. The uninsured ranks among adults over 27 years old swelled from January through April of this year, according to Gallup, with 27- to 35-year-olds seeing the highest uptick. Nearly 27 percent of them are now uninsured (Tamincioglu, 8/28).
[Milwaukee] Journal Sentinel: Age, Wage To Play Big Roles In Health Cost
People who are young, healthy and have good jobs that don't provide health benefits will pay more for health insurance under federal health care reform. People who are older, or have health problems, will pay less. So will those who work in low-paying jobs and buy insurance on their own. At the same time, the number of people without health insurance in Wisconsin would drop by 340,000 by 2016. Those are among the key projections in a report released last week by the state Office of Free Market Health Care on how health care reform will affect Wisconsin. The report supports what health care economists have long known: Expanding coverage will yield winners and losers (Boulton, 8/28).