The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in March, 2010, has made significant changes to the health insurance industry. The goal of the ACA, which is gradually phased into effect between 2010 and 2018, is to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage with certain minimum and essential benefits. It requires individuals to maintain health insurance meeting certain benefit standards, or face a penalty. Coverage can be maintained through employer-based coverage, purchase of insurance through state and federal administered health exchanges established under the ACA, or through Medicare or Medicaid coverage when applicable. Preexisting plans before ACA’s enactment can be grandfathered with certain rules governing their continued existence.
Congress is continuing to reevaluate the role of the ACA and the impact it has on our nation’s health care and insurance industries. This timeline (pdf) details the implementation of significant provisions within the law.
While NAIFA shares the goal of ensuring quality health coverage for all Americans, there are a number of provisions in the law that will likely increase costs of insurance coverage, and will limit the access of consumers to agents.
Our nation’s health insurance industry provides quality coverage to millions of Americans across every income level, protects consumers, and employs over 450,000 agents and advisors across the country. In addition to helping consumers evaluate and enroll in a plan, agents play a critical role in providing local, personalized, and cost-effective services throughout the life of a policy. It is important that implementation of the ACA does not jeopardize this industry vital to our nation’s economy and well-being.
Policymakers should make certain targeted revisions to the ACA to ensure that our nation’s health insurance agents can continue to provide and strengthen the quality services they offer.