The Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA), the health and employee benefits advocate for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), is pleased to learn that Senator Hillary Clinton’s American Health Choices Plan includes provisions to address the affordability of health insurance coverage advocated by AHIA including tax credits for individuals and small businesses.

However, AHIA is concerned that the American Health Choices Plan relies on individual mandates to purchase and employer mandates to provide health insurance without appropriate safeguards to protect the vitality of choice, quality and competition. The Plan does not provide for an affordable basic benefit policy. “Less expensive policies help the uninsured find affordable coverage and reduce the need for a mandate to buy health insurance,” said AHIA President Thomas J. Vander Wal.

Also concerning is the Health Choices Menu, which would provide limited choices and leave little or no role for insurance professionals who now guide individuals and employers through the process of assessing and meeting their health care needs. “Licensed, regulated, fairly compensated insurance agents offer a cost effective means of achieving personal and professional assistance in the selection of insurance coverage for individuals and employers of all sizes in all markets” Vander Wal said.

The health care reform challenge is to bring millions of uninsured Americans into the system and to reduce the high cost of health care for everyone. Of course, these two challenges are related and one cannot be solved without tackling the other.