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Insurance Industry News from ProgramBusiness.comPatient's Bill of Rights
FALLS CHURCH, VA- The Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA) applauds the access provisions included in the Patients' Bill of Rights legislation that passed the House of Representatives. AHIA, however, remains concerned that the bill would expand the scope and venues for patient litigation, which would inevitably discourage employers, particularly small employers, from sponsoring plans for their employees. Access issues advocated by AHIA are contained in the House version which include expanding the availability of MSAs, 100% deductibility for the self employed, and tax credits for small businesses purchasing health care insurance. "Expanding access is only half the formula for success - if coverage is accessible, but not affordable, it's useless," observed AHIA president, Arnold M. Katz, CLU and owner of Brokerage Concepts, Inc., King of Prussia, PA.
Katz noted that if employers were to drop coverage because of the increased litigation risk, employees would be forced to find coverage in the individual market - a more expensive market with fewer benefits. "Fewer benefits and increased costs is not a result anyone wants." The House and Senate Conference Committee now has the opportunity to find the balance between making sure patients have timely access to benefits, without discouraging employers from sponsoring medical and hospital insurance plans.
AHIA is also concerned with the "association health plans" (AHPs) amendment which would establish rules governing health plans sponsored by certain associations. These AHPs would lack state regulatory authority and position AHPs for price advantages over state regulated plans - creating an unlevel playing field. "What's good for the goose should be good for the gander. Let's not further segment the market by creating separate rules for AHPs," stated Katz.
"While the tax incentives are encouraging, coupled with the potential for increased employee litigation against employers, they may be ineffectual, " commented Katz. AHIA remains hopeful that the Conference Committee will rectify the imperfections in both the House and the Senate versions of this legislation and produce a bill that reduces the number of uninsured rather than increases it.
Founded in 1890 as the National Association of Life Underwriters, NAIFA is comprised of 900 state and local associations and represents the business interests of 90,000 life and health insurance agents and financial advisors nationwide. Many of NAIFA's members are NASD-licensed registered representatives or registered investment advisors. Benefits of membership include legislative and regulatory representation, education and training, and networking opportunities. The NAIFA umbrella includes the Division of Financial Advisors and three specialty organizations: the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), the Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA) and GAMA International.Click for the whole story...