Some Health Overhaul Policies Good For Consumers, Bad For Brokers
As changes mandated by the health law continue to emerge, news outlets are exploring how the measure will alter the landscape for consumers and for insurance professionals.
Kaiser Health News: One cancer patient, seeking to join get an experimental drug, found that his access was hindered by his insurance coverage. The "problem wasn't the costs of the clinical trial itself: The cancer center would pay to administer the drug and analyze the results. But if [the patient] participated in the trial, his health plan would stop covering all the other doctor visits, hospital stays, tests and treatment related to treating his cancer." The health law will resolve such problems by requiring " health plans to pay the routine care costs of patients who participate in clinical trials for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and other life-threatening conditions" beginning in 2014 (Andrews, 8/24).
Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Health-care reform will change the insurance landscape for consumers, but it also will change it for insurance brokers and agents who earn a living helping people choose plans. The law requires states to set up health insurance exchanges that consumers can go to and shop for a health plan. It also requires that exchanges provide 'navigators' that do outreach and help people understand options." Some brokers worry that will make them obsolete. Other changes in the health law could affect how they are paid (Smith, 8/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.