Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy PraegerQ: What challenges do you anticipate your particular state running into with upcoming health care reform provisions?

Sandy Praeger: The primary challenge is simply responding to and dealing with the quantity of things that must be done to implement the various reform provisions; also, keeping on top of the quantity of information that is being generated by [the Department of Health and Human Services] and other organizations in order to stay informed, [overseeing] coordination and communication with the insurers operating in our state, and trying to find ways to keep the public adequately informed about the effects of PPACA.

Q: For producers licensed to sell health insurance in your state, what developments might they look out for?

SP: Producers will be interested in how HHS ultimately decides to handle the payment of commissions for purposes of the insurance companies calculating medical loss ratio. They will also be interested in how they will be operating once the health insurance exchanges are operational in 2014. What role will producers play, and how will they be compensated for the services they provide? Will insurance continue to be sold outside of the exchange?

Q: Is your state doing anything differently or preparing in any special way for health care reform?

SP: Since we are a relatively small state and also have budget constraints, as do many other states, we have not made substantial changes in our operations. Existing [Kansas Insurance Department] staff members have been assigned to work on health care reform implementation, and we will also be coordinating with other Kansas state agency officials and interested public parties.

Q: What did you get out of President Obama’s recent meeting with several state regulators?

The opportunity for continued dialogue with HHS and the administration is vital as we work through the implementation process.

Commissioner Sandy Praeger was elected Kansas’ 24th Commissioner of Insurance in 2002 and began serving in the position on Jan. 13, 2003. She was re-elected in 2006. She previously served three terms in the Kansas Senate and one term in the Kansas House of Representatives. She also served as mayor of Lawrence, KS and was on the Lawrence City Commission. Praeger is the most immediate NAIC past president and serves on several committees.

More state insurance regulator Q&As:

Alaska

Arkansas

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kentucky

Maryland

Minnesota

Nevada

Nebraska

New Hampshire

North Carolina

North Dakota

South Dakota

South Carolina

Kansas Facts At-A-Glance

Kansas

United States

Demographics

Total population

2,717,500

303,343,300

Median annual income

$47,527

$49.945

Health costs and budget

Health spending per capita

$5,382

$5,283 (by state of residence)

Average employee contribution for family premium (% of total premium)

27%

27%

Health coverage

Uninsured population (% of total population)

13%

17%

Uninsured children (% of children)

10%

10%

Medicaid enrollment (% of total population)

13%

19%

Medicare enrollment (% of total population)

15%

15%

Monthly CHIP enrollment, June 2009

38,731

4,966,030

Health status

Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)

7.3

6.8

Teen death rate (per 100,000 population)

69

62

AIDS diagnosis rate (per 100,000 population)

3.9

12.3

Overweight or obese children (% of children)

31.1%

31.6%

Adults who visited the dentist/clinic (% of adults)

71.9%

71.3%

Adults with disabilities (% of adults)

12.3%

12.1%

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts