North Carolinians are lucky to have a strong insurance commissioner who cares about consumers. Besides serving our state, Commissioner Wayne Goodwin also holds several important positions in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This gives him an important role in influencing national health policy.
Right now we need your help to defend a key consumer protection of federal health reform. As you may know the Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies spend a minimum amount of each premium dollar on health care. Currently, some insurance companies spend 30 to 40 percent of each premium dollar on administrative expenses like marketing, executive salaries, and lobbying.
Now the NAIC may endorse a bill in Congress, introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), which would remove commissions paid to insurance agents from consideration when calculating the minimum amount insurers must spend on health care. In other words, if this bill passes, agent commissions will not be considered administrative expenses.
This move will allow insurance companies to continue paying outsized commissions to agents, which translate to higher and higher premiums for consumers. It will also effectively reduce the amount of premiums insurance companies are required to spend on health care.
Commissioner Goodwin is vice chair of the NAIC task force considering these changes. The first vote is tomorrow, June 30. Please email Goodwin today at Wayne.Goodwin@ncdoi.gov and tell him to stand up for consumers by not endorsing any change to the Medical Loss Ratio standards. Even a temporary change will mean an immediate loss to consumers of one of the most important early reforms. This is real money out of the pockets of real consumers.
Advocates fought too hard to see health reform watered down by an organization that should be protecting families and small businesses. Goodwin has good instincts. Now let’s make sure he has the public support to do the right thing.