WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 22, 2011 – The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today expressed support for a National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) resolution asking Congress and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take action to provide relief for agents and brokers from the medical loss ratios (MLRs) as enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“The Big ‘I’ applauds the NAIC for its recognition of the detrimental impact the MLR calculation has had on independent insurance agency small business owners, consumers, and their agents and brokers,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “If the MLR formula is not corrected soon, consumers will suffer the prospect of losing the professional, licensed guidance of insurance agents during this time of great change in the health insurance market.”
Since the MLR rules went into effect they have created tremendous upheaval in the marketplace. The effect on agents and brokers in particular has been damaging as many insurance carriers have significantly cut their agent compensation in an effort to meet these new regulations. This has in turn reduced consumer access to agents and brokers, leading to a detrimental impact on essential services provided for consumers such as guidance in claims processing and tailoring health plans to fit the needs of individuals and small businesses.
“We urge Congress and HHS to take note of this important action by the NAIC and move forward with immediate relief from the MLR regulations for agents and brokers,” says Charles E. Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “Congress can provide a permanent and proper fix by removing agent compensation from the MLR calculation, but meanwhile HHS has the power to relieve the downward pressure on agent compensation through regulatory action. The Big ‘I’ will continue to work with Congress, HHS and the NAIC as well as other stakeholders to protect consumers and the livelihoods of our small business membership.”
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.