John Doak, Oklahoma’s Insurance Commissioner, is an outspoken critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Mr. Doak and four other insurance commissioners were in Washington this past week to testify before a Senate panel. Their goal was simple – What do we need to do NOW to strengthen the law for the benefit of the American consumer?
The five insurance commissioners, even ones like Doak who are opposed to the PPACA, all agreed on the importance of stabilizing the health insurance markets. The first step would be to lock in both the premium tax credit subsidy and the Cost Sharing Reduction, an important consumer benefit that has become a political football. There appears to be bipartisan support to do this. The big question is whether a bill can emerge from both the House and the Senate.
Another key area of agreement centers on the Section 1332 Waiver. Can Congress streamline the process of securing a waiver?
Ohio is preparing its Section 1332 Waiver application. And we, agents and consumers, have an opportunity to participate. Now is the time to provide your input into what rules should be changed or relaxed to improve health insurance pricing and availability. We have until October 15th to provide our ideas.
There are four areas of concern:
- The delivery system
- Benefit Package
- Cost Containment and/or medical management options
- Funding or the delivery of a reinsurance pool
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- Should there be annual or lifetime maximums?
- Should pediatric dental and vision be optional?
- Would mandating a second opinion save money?
- Would a state exchange be more effective than healthcare.gov?
- If we develop a high risk pool, can we incentivize carriers from ceding business to the pool?
- Can certain benefits such as Mental Health or Maternity become optional?
- Should there be a baseline standard plan with the option to buy up?
I think you get the idea. The process is just beginning. Our job is to stop complaining and to start working. You may post your suggestions in the Comment section or send me a private email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all in this together. Let’s make health insurance, our way to access and pay for healthcare, more affordable and effective.