As the on-going debate over the implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) continues, whether or not international travel insurance for expatriates should be grandfathered from the new medical loss ratio (MLR) limits remains up in the air.
It has many agents and brokers wondering about the fate of their industry if they are forced to comply with the minimum 80% MLR policy under the PPACA.
In July, representatives from Cigna Corp., Atena, and Groom Law Group held a conference call with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to discuss the reasons why international health insurance plans should be excluded from the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio standards. According to the NAIC, “by definition, expatriate and international policies cover individuals who travel frequently and who may return to their home countries for both business and personal purposes.”
According to Groom Law Group, international health plans should be excluded by the NAIC or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from MLR requirements because they are classified as a different type of plan under the MLR provisions of the PPACA, which needs to be taken into account when calculating medical loss ratios.
No matter what decision is made, it will undoubtedly have a huge impact, both on companies that provide travel insurance and the individuals that rely on it. As globalization wraps its fingers around what used to be a far-flung world, there are different reasons for travel that may require specifically tailored insurance plans. Student, business, adventure, cruise and “work-to live” travel will all present travel insurance companies with different needs and therefore require money to go in different directions depending on the traveler’s situation. The question that arises is: Should a company offering coverage to someone going cliff diving in Acapulco be required to have the same MLR requirement as the company covering an executive’s six-month stay in London?