John Barrow tries to curb ACA’s unintended condequences

John Barrow, of Augusta of late, has introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to fix the problem of the ACA’s limitation on insurance agents. Even before Obamacare made purchasing health insurance extra complicated, insurance agents acted in an almost educational capacity in their relationships with small business. The new laws have made the purchase more difficult to understand while cutting the compensation of the agents, leaving many small businesses at a loss when it comes to protecting their workers.

The press release follows…

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. John Barrow, D-GA, and Mike Rogers, R-MI, reintroduced a bipartisan bill that will save jobs, protect small businesses and preserve the critical role of agents and brokers in helping consumers navigate the increasing complex health care system.

 

H.R. 2328, the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2013 would amend a provision of the ACA known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) to remove the agent and broker compensation for the definition of “administrative expense” under (MLR).

 

“This provision in the Affordable Care Act negatively impacts small businesses that so many consumers rely on for information,” said Congressman Barrow. “Insurance agents and brokers serve as the voice of health insurance for millions of families and small businesses in rural communities. These folks can help explain to consumers the many changes taking place in the healthcare world over the next few years, and it’s important that their ability to inform the public isn’t weakened by this new law.”

 

“The unfortunate consequence is that insurers are dramatically cutting commissions to agents to comply with the MLR rule.  This means jobs are being cut, agents and brokers are beginning to disappear, and small businesses and individuals are having a harder time accessing affordable insurance,” Rogers said. “It is critical that the indispensable role played by licensed independent insurance producers is recognized and protected.”

 

Under the current MLR, health insurance carriers are required to treat agent and broker commissions as part of their administrative costs. This regulation has caused serious harm to agents and brokers ability to continue to provide essential services to consumers who depend on them to assist with coverage or claim problems. Many of these agents and brokers are part of one or two person small businesses. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the doors of these small businesses stay open and individuals continue to have access to quality insurance coverage.

 

Congressman Barrow has continued efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act by removing burdensome provisions including leading the effort to repeal the Individual Mandate, the Employer Mandate, and the Individual Payment Advisory Board.  Congressmen Barrow and Rogers introduced this bipartisan legislation in the 112th Congress and garnered over 100 cosponsors.

 

 

 

5 comments

  1. James says:

    Dumb move. One of the many reasons insurance costs are so high is because the industry insists on using the antiquated model of agents and brokers. I don’t need an agent or broker when I buy cable, gas or any other consumer good. Why is insurance any different? Why do we need a middleman that increases the cost of the service? Lowering healthcare costs and making sure all players in the industry make the same money they’ve always made are mutually exclusive.

    Why do I need to pay party X so that I can get insurance from company Y? I don’t have to pay an agent or a broker when I buy cable, gas, or an iPhone. Why should I have to do so for

    • Harry says:

      Despite all the fine words of politicians it’s really crazy how far we are from real health care reform. Thank a special interest, there are plenty to choose from.

  2. ibby says:

    Insurance agents are the new travel agents. The Internet and sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire, pretty much allowed the consumer to directly shop for deals. Same thing. The exchanges will be hiring “navigators” to help folks during the transition and after a few years we’ll get the idea of what we need to do. Agents will continue to play a role, but for most of us, we’ll be comfortable doing it ourselves. Exactly, cut out the middleman to save costs.

    • Harry says:

      When the youth and productive healthy people realize they are heavily subsidizing the high-risk population, together with contributing to Medicare and social security, on top of paying taxes to support Medicaid, SNAP and WIC…..well, I don’t think they’re going to be real happy.

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