WE, THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONERS, THEREFORE RESOLVE THAT:
As the standards for implementing national health reform are being developed, it is essential that they recognize and protect the indispensable role that licensed insurance professionals play in serving consumers. It is important for federal policymakers to acknowledge the critical role of producers and to establish standards for the Exchanges so that insurance professionals will continue to be adequately compensated for the services they provide, and so that the duties of Exchange Navigators appropriately reflect the important role of insurance producers who are skilled, knowledgeable, educated and licensed and regulated.
It may not have the authority of law but it comes close. In any case, it is the first encouraging thing I have heard about health care reform that affects me since the bill was signed on March 23.
There is a small section in the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act discussing the formation of “Navigator” to provide professional guidance for people in the area of health insurance. That section is only about 2 paragraphs out of a 906 page document. It is very easy to overlook.
On January 1, 2011 my personal commissions will be cut as a result of the Medical Loss Ratio the PPACA requires. The NAIC elected, in their national meeting this week, to keep agent’s commissions as part of the 15 % administrative costs. Previously, insurance companies were allowed to add the agent’s commission onto the actual price of the health insurance. They can no longer do that. We agents are going to have to share that 15% pool with all the other clerical staff and overhead expenses.
Fortunately, all that will happen to me will be a reduction in income. Once the new commission percentages are announced I will still be free to write more business to offset that loss. That is not the case for the thousands of home office employees who are about to lose their jobs because of the limitations in Obamacare.
The headlines about the corporate “fat cats” with health insurance companies getting million dollar salaries & bonuses may be true. A closer look, however, shows that the number of executives making that kind of money is very, very puny compared to the masses of middle class workers who are about to be laid off.
The ones who are laid off obviously, will not have their incomes but someone will have to take over their jobs. Replacements are not going to be hired. The ones that remain will keep the responsibilities they already have but they will inherit the new responsibilities of the people who were laid off with little to no increase in salary.
In other words, Obama, Pelosi & Reid are willing to sacrifice thousands of middle class employees to nail a few hundred over paid executives.
It encourages me, as a health insurance agent, to read the resolution made by the highest state officials in the insurance industry.
Right now each state will develop their own rules for the new state health insurance exchanges to start in 2013. Ultimately, it will be up to the Secretary of Health & Human Services after the presidential election of 2012 to define who can act as a Navigator and how they can be compensated. He or she has veto power over the state’s plans under the PPACA.
I’m not quite willing to exhale yet. There are still many sunrises before final plans for the Navigator program are established but my future is looking brighter in light of this resolution from NAIC.