PAHUs Letter to Congress on Health Reform
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We believe all Americans deserve a health care system that delivers both world-class medical care and financial security. Americans deserve a system that is responsible, accessible and affordable. This system should boost the health of our people and our country's economy. Americans also deserve a system that is realistic. An American Solution—NAHU's Vision for Affordable and Responsible Health Care Reform is a comprehensive approach to meeting this challenge, and a yardstick for evaluating other proposals.

NAHU believes the following issues to be critical when maintaining a responsible, accessible, and affordable healthcare system for all Americans.

Value of Agents, Brokers and Consultants

As implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) progresses, NAHU is dedicated to ensuring continued access to the crucial services of state-licensed health insurance agents, brokers and consultants who work on a daily basis to help individuals and employers of all sizes purchase health insurance, use their coverage effectively and make sure they get the most out of the benefits they have purchased. Consumers' need for help from a licensed professional will only increase as the new health reform law is fully implemented and the compliance demands on employers and individuals increase.

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Containing Health Care Costs

By far, the greatest access barrier to health insurance coverage in America today is cost. Constraining skyrocketing medical costs is the most critical—and vexing—aspect of health care reform. The cost of health care delivery is the key driver in rising health insurance premiums and it is putting the cost of health insurance coverage beyond the reach of many Americans.

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State-Based Exchanges

The establishment of health insurance exchanges is one of the most far-reaching aspects of the private health insurance reforms contained in PPACA. Exchanges will transform our nation's private health care marketplace for individuals and small businesses buying coverage. Since it is the professional role of health insurance agents and brokers to provide consumers with accurate information about their health coverage options, exchange participation is a natural fit.

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Market Reforms

Great care needs to be taken when implementing health insurance market reforms to prevent cost increases in the existing private market system. No matter how fair a market reform idea might seem on its surface, it's not at all fair if it also prices people out of coverage options.

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Long-Term Care

Many Americans would be caught completely unprepared if they or a loved one were faced with a medical crisis that required long-term care. This lack of preparation has led many to either self-finance their care or rely on the over-burdened Medicaid system when faced with a long-term care crisis. But now that the baby boom generation is aging, the Medicaid program is becoming increasingly financially strapped. NAHU believes policymakers should take additional steps to encourage Americans to make the financially responsible decision to purchase private long-term care insurance. If more individuals were able to privately finance their long-term care needs, the cost savings to both the federal government and the states in reduced Medicaid expenditures would be enormous. In addition, Congress needs to review the long-term financial stability of the new government-sponsored Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act (CLASS Act) long-term care program and how it could impact the private long-term care insurance marketplace.

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Preserving Private Medicare Choices

All Americans, including Medicare beneficiaries, need to have a wide range of health plan choices available to them and the ability to pick the policies that best suit their individual needs. Congress should not limit the ability of seniors to access any Medicare coverage option, including Medicare Advantage plans, nor should they restrict senior access to the services of licensed professional health insurance producers. Preserving the financial stability of the Medicare program, and its private option counterparts, is also critical.

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Medical Loss Ratio

Federal health reform has led to significant statutory and regulatory changes affecting the way private health insurance coverage is bought and sold in this country. Among the provisions that will impact the agent/broker community and its role in helping individuals and employers manage their health insurance needs is the requirement for health insurance companies to adhere to federal minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements. While NAHU agrees with the goal of providing consumers with greater value for health care dollars spent, minimum loss ratio requirements significantly and negatively impact coverage choice and affordability and could also impact the ability of consumers to access the incomparable services of health insurance agents and brokers.

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Washington Update...

I know many of you are leaving town to take a few days off during the Thanksgiving break, and you may be tempted to skim through this issue of Washington Update. I ask that you stop and take a few minutes to read today's edition CAREFULLY, including the items where you click to a longer document. This is a critical time for us and the upcoming debate will be the most important debate that has occurred in decades. We will be asking you to respond on issues quickly and this base level of information about the Senate bill is critical to your responses. >>> Click Here <<<







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