Opinion: Public Plan Is Unfair Competition
Rob Schlossberg is the Executive Sales Director for BenefitMall, a complete Broker services company.
We strongly oppose a government-run public plan that would unfairly compete with the private health insurance market.A public plan would compete with the private health insurance market and create an unlevel playing field that would eventually diminish access to efficient and sustainable private insurance products.A public plan would be a huge cost burden on privately insured individuals. When the public plan sets reduced rates to pay providers, the providers will be forced to shift the cost on private payers.Additionally, unnecessarily dividing the risk pools that exist in the current private plans could be catastrophic in the end result.The implementation of a public plan will be extremely costly. The same funds could be directed toward subsidies for low-income individuals and businesses to aid them in purchasing private coverage.A public plan could mean the loss of millions of insurance related jobs in every state. This loss in state premium tax revenue will only increase the already taxed state budgets, and the many programs that these taxes support that are often non-insurance related.
Any exchange developed as part of the healthcare reform should be state, regulatory in structure and not administration.Many online portals and exchanges exist in the private market today. It would reduce cost to implement a new healthcare plan by utilizing our existing infrastructure through regulated guidelines.The timeline of implementation of a new healthcare system could be drastically reduced by preserving and utilizing the current private exchange functionality.The one existing government exchange has failed to meet all consumer and coverage needs. Private exchanges meet these needs today.Utilizing multiple existing, regulated exchanges could ensure people will have the necessary support through Brokers and General Agents that they use today.Finally, by placing an exchange in regulated existing systems that support private systems, we will ensure the private systems will continue to have adequate support and visibility in the consumer selection process and force fair and competitive offerings in the marketplace.
Role Of Brokers/General Agents
Health insurance agents and agencies will be needed more than ever to serve as advocates in a reformed healthcare system.Agents and General Agencies freely provide a number of benefit services for small business owners. Excluding Agent and General Agencies from participating in an exchange will increase cost for small businesses.Agents and General Agencies are subject to strict training and licensing laws that protect consumers and ensure a quality level of assistance is provided. Unlicensed "navigators" should not be allowed to enroll people in coverage with trained professionals already accessible in our system.Agents and General Agencies provide the post sale services that are unavoidable and necessary actions associated with every policy and coverage. We cannot disregard these activities when implementing a new plan.
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