National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

Representatives' Letter to CMS Cites Effectiveness of Agents and Brokers in Health Insurance Enrollments

Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Michael Burgess (R-TX), as the Republican leaders of the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, respectively, have sent a letter raising concerns about the Affordable Care Act’s navigator program to Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
 
The ACA created the navigator program to help consumers enroll in qualified health plans in the federal ACA marketplace. It has been controversial from the beginning. NAIFA and other critics have argued that part-time navigators cannot offer the same expertise and service as experienced, state-licensed insurance professionals.
 
In the letter to CMS, the representatives express concerns about the cost of the navigator program, citing the fact that “for plan year 2017, navigators were awarded $62.5 million in grants and enrolled 81,426 individuals – which amounts to $767 per person.”
 
The lawmakers also give a nod to the important role played by professional insurance agents and advisors. Citing data from a study by the Galen Institute, they write that “navigators enrolled less than 1 percent of all enrollees in the federal marketplace while private brokers and agents enrolled 42 percent of enrollees.”
 
“NAIFA appreciates that the members of Congress recognize the important role insurance professionals play in ensuring that Americans have access to health insurance coverage and helping consumers understand their often-complex choices,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux. “When it comes to helping Americans understand their options and fulfill their insurance needs, no one beats a licensed, professional broker or agent.”    
 
  • Posted October 23, 2019 IN


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