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PIA Says Inclusion of Agents in House Healthcare Bill is Positive, But Concerns Remain
Date:11/9/2009

SBA Provision, Antitrust Language, Federal Trade Commission Involvement Need to be Addressed in Senate

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Inclusion of a provision in the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) allowing insurance agents to sell health policies offered by health insurance exchanges is positive, but other issues remain to be addressed in the Senate, according to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).

The language that guarantees agent participation, added at the insistence of Blue Dog Democrats including former PIA member Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), was included in the final version of H.R. 3962 that passed 220-215 in the House on November 7.

"The inclusion of this provision assures that no matter what, consumers will continue to be able to rely on their local professional insurance agent to help them navigate the maze of choices available, both inside and outside these proposed health insurance exchanges," said PIA National President Jon D. Spalding. "This provision needs to be preserved in the Senate."

PIA believes that other elements included in the House bill will have to be fixed or removed in the Senate.

"We remain concerned with language added under a subsection entitled 'Assistance for Small Employers' that designates the Small Business Administration (SBA) to design what is, in essence, a government-run insurance agency for small businesses," said PIA Director of Federal Affairs Mike Becker. "In the House bill, SBA is required to provide educational activities to small businesses, along with distribution of information and 'enrollment and plan selection assistance for employers' for health plans available under the Health Insurance Exchange."

"In short, the SBA would be required to perform the functions of an insurance agency or brokerage for small groups of under 100," Becker said. "PIA opposes this provision b
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SOURCE National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
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