March Legislative Update

The February TAHU Legislative call started off with an overview of HR 815 “The Broker Bill”, which aims at removing the broker commissions from the MLR calculation. A NAHU Operation Shout campaign has been deployed and all members are encouraged to ask their representative for support of this important bill. Jessica Watts provided an update on HR30, the “40 Hours is Full Time Act of 2015”. The bill has passed the house and has been referred to Senate Committee, but as of this report the bill has not been voted on. The call concluded with Lee Manross going over several state level bills being closely watched (HB615, HB966) both of which relate to how insurers must handle out of network charges and the resulting upward pressure it would have on premiums. Lee also touched on the status of the request the State of Texas made to CMS to use a four tier composite rating methodology as of 01/01/2016. NAHU is working directly with TDI to amend the request to include an earlier effective date, but no current update available as of this report.

NAHU Director of State Affairs, Marcy Buckner hosted the Region VI call which covered much of the same bills as discussed on the TAHU call. Marcy indicated that in regards to the Broker Bill (HR815) NAHU is trying to garner support from a Democrat to introduce an anchor bill (aka Companion Bill) as a way of getting bipartisan support. NAHU is still in the process of identifying and courting several senators to lead this effort.

The HIM conference call was an opportunity to hear from V.P. Joe Biden. His comments were to congratulate the efforts of the agents and brokers during the second open enrollment period we have gone thru. Of no surprise to most of those on the call was the fact that the agents and brokers have accounted for a third of all enrollments, and that the long term success of the ACA would largely be determined by the continued efforts of the agents and brokers.

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