Agents in New York are applauding a new bill approved by the Senate which secures their role within the health insurance exchange for that state.
Senators Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) and James L. Seward (R-Milford) introduced the bill, making it the first proposal of a formal nature for the establishment of a health insurance exchange for the state of New York. This proposal had been mandated last year in the federal health care reform bill.
The proposal would require a public exchange. This health insurance exchange would have a board of eleven members, each of whom would have his or her own unique health care specialty. Purchasing health coverage will be among the various forms of expertise represented on the board.
There would also be eight regional advisory committees who will provide recommendations for the exchange as well as for the brokers and agents who are candidates to serve on the exchange councils. This new bill makes specific mention of brokers and agents within this area and necessitates that brokers and agents be allowed to receive coverage for both businesses and individuals by way of the exchange.
Christopher A. Brassard, the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York (IIABNY) Chairman, said that the role of these producers is invaluable in assisting small businesses and individuals with the complexities of health insurance, including the various options and plans available.
He went on to explain that “Small businesses and individuals simply do not have the expertise or the time to select the best insurance plan, so they rely heavily on insurance producers to help them.”
This new legislation, lets the state to hold control over the future of its own health insurance industry, maintaining coverage that is employer-sponsored, while making certain that business groups and health insurance brokers both play a role in the process to ensure that the best quality options for coverage can be provided to consumers, according to Senator Seward.