The role of the health insurance broker is reinforced daily by their clients, members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) were told at the opening of their 2018 Capitol Conference today.
As they continue to seek legislation that would stabilize the health insurance market, NAHU members are positioning themselves as problem solvers and guides to help consumers and employers navigate the health insurance system.
Reiterating their goal of stabilizing the marketplace, NAHU's government relations staff ran down the list of priorities in Washington.
On the individual market, NAHU wants to see the following:
Allow tax credits to be issued outside the health insurance marketplace for consumers who live in an area where there are fewer than two carriers offering coverage.
Allow the purchase of catastrophic coverage regardless of the purchaser's age or income status, and allow tax credits to apply to this type of coverage.
Allow states to be eligible for funding for new hybrid high-risk pools.
Reduce the 90-day grace period for paying for health insurance to 30 days.
Continue funding cost sharing reduction payments.
Allow increased flexibility for health savings accounts.
The employer-based market also has been affected by the Affordable Care Act. NAHU outlined a number of legislative priorities in this market, including:
Preserving the employer exclusion that gives favorable tax treatment to employer provided health insurance.
Changes the definition of full-time employee from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week.
NAHU also called for its members to urge Congress to repeal the Cadillac tax, remove agent commissions from the medical loss ratio and increase ACA waiver flexibility.
Marcy Buckner, NAHU vice president of government affairs, reminded members that the conference is an opportunity to tell Congress of the agent's role in helping the public.
"This is a year round full-time job, " she said. " Health insurance is not a once and done sale. Agents and brokers save consumers and businesses time and money."
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.