As the NAIC prepares to vote on a resolution requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) exempt agents’ and producers’ health commissions from key provisions of the federal health reform act, Sen. John (Jay) Rockefeller IV, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, fired off a letter to NAIC President-Elect Kevin McCarty warning the move would deny consumers cost rebates.
Rockefeller told McCarty that the anticipated vote by the NAIC Plenary body this afternoon on a resolution opposing the medical loss ratio (MLR) law as it applies to agents and producers would “weaken” important consumer protections.
“It is already clear that the current minimum medical loss ratio is benefitting American consumers and business by giving health insurance companies a strong incentive to spend their customers’ premium dollars more efficiently and carefully,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter the day before the vote.
The proposed resolution is sponsored by Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. It is unclear if the measure will pass, or if so, by a wide margin. It has been delayed, reportedly so it could get more support. UPDATE: Wisconsin asked to be removed from lsit of state sponsors.
According to Consumer Watchdog, outgoing NAIC President Susan Voss acted under pressure from four commissioners — Dave Jones of California, Mike Kreidler of Washington, Thomas Leonardi of Connecticut, and Teresa Miller of Oregon — to delay the vote.
The commissioners objected apparently because they believe the NAIC was asking HHS to do something that exceeded its authority.
McCarty’s office in Florida, where he is insurance commissioner, did not respond to a request for comment.
The MLR — and PPACA at large, for that matter — is a hot button issue in Florida, where it has been welcomed with open opposition.
Under the MLR law of the landmark patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a provision Rockefeller championed during the debate over the Act, insurers are required to spend at least 80% of their customers’ premium dollars on providing health care and improving quality of life.