Insurance and Real Estate Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-15

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

Vote Date:

3/13/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/18/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Insurance and Real Estate Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The proposed legislation would increase the size of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange board of directors by adding an active insurance producer.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Jennifer Herz, Assistant Counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association submitted testimony urging the support of the committee to move forward with this bill. “A broker will bring a unique perspective and valuable experience to the board. Many employers rely on their brokers to advise them in matters relating to health insurance decisions for their companies and beyond. Just like individuals utilize brokers to help them purchase home or auto insurance, the same close relationship is important to many employers. This relationship makes brokers uniquely familiar with the needs of employers and therefore will be able to provide insight and advice specifically helpful to Access Health. Brokers are well positioned to share their substantial experience working with the employer community to help transition this changing marketplace.”

Timothy P. Tracy Jr. Owner of Insuring CT testified stating, “the best description of what we do is we serve our clients, both individuals and businesses in Connecticut, as their professional insurance advisor. Health insurance is an extremely complex product and the role that a Broker/ Agent plays is of the utmost importance. Before and individual or business can determine the most appropriate health insurance product many different factors need to be considered such as; the scope of coverage, risk toleration, network of providers, pharmacy coverage, and cost. The process is far too big for one-size fits-all approach. The professional insurance advisor helps Connecticut residents and businesses make informed choices on cost-effective coverage options and more importantly provides ongoing service and support. Having a professional insurance advisor on the board would provide invaluable guidance to the complexities of a system that has gone through massive change and continues to change. We work directly with the consumer and understand their needs. It's our primary goal as an advisor to help our clients find the most appropriate cost effective solution.”

Paul E. Smith, Licensed Broker/ Agent stated how consumers who had the most difficult time during the process where those consumers without a broker or an agent. The broker understands the needs of the consumer and can interpolate the health reform to those needs. We work on behalf of our client, which could be an individual consumer, a small business owner or any of their employees all for no extra compensation except what is paid by the insurance company.

Connecticut State Medical Society stated how they believe the inclusion of practicing physician will only strengthen the board's composition and knowledge of how health care is delivered and health insurance operates in this state.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Tom Swan, Executive Director of the CT Citizen Action Group (CCAG) submitted testimony stating, “I would like to make it clear that CCAG strongly opposes SB 15. We fought hard to try and ban any conflicts of interest in selecting board members where this proposal will only institutionalize a clear conflict of interest. We urge in the strongest terms possible the rejection of this proposal.”

American Cancer Society Action Network submitted testimony stating how this bill is a step in the wrong direction. “We believe the needs of those touched by cancer are better served by a balanced and independent Exchange Board. We supported efforts to increase the number of consumer and small business representatives and continue to support additional consumer input and representation.”

Reported by: Ashlee Chatfield

Date: March 18, 2014