Q: What challenges do you anticipate your particular state running into with upcoming health care reform provisions?
JC: Time and uncertainty are major challenges to implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. For example, on a project like the exchange, there is a necessity for infrastructure development, and this infrastructure needs to be created to meet yet-to-be determined exchange policy decisions and constructed in a public and transparent manner. This is a challenge that each state is facing. Concerning uncertainty, there are a lot of questions still outstanding concerning particular provisions of the ACA. HHS has not had the time to develop a number of rules so states have to make a lot of assumptions in policy models. Regarding uncertainty over the ACA itself, West Virginia is moving forward to implement the law and protect the best interests of our citizens. If the ACA were deemed unconstitutional, the law would be repealed or federal implementation funding withheld, and then the Offices of the Insurance Commisioner would adjust accordingly.
Q: For producers licensed to sell health insurance in your state, what developments might they look out for?
JC: Producers should continue to be constructively engaged in the implementation of the reforms. The reforms anticipate providing health insurance coverage in the most cost-efficient manner; therefore, all components of the premiums are being assessed. We continue to meet with producers to ensure that the services they provide, and the value of those services, are fully understood. To that end, the NAIC has an active working group studying this issue and has passed a resolution pledging its support of the use of producers and the recognition of the value of their services.
Q: What should producers concentrate on the most over the next 10 years with regard to health care reform’s affects in West Virginia?
JC: Producers should remain engaged in the process of helping consumers procure health insurance. In particular, the large number of uninsured West Virginians who will have coverage for the first time will greatly benefit from the knowledge producers have.