We are excited to provide an update on Casey Meehan’s recent trip to our nation’s capital and the points of discussion with the offices of U.S. Congress members during the recent National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) Capitol Conference.
As GHB’s Individual Market Specialist and the president-elect of one of Washington state’s regional chapters of NAHU, Casey, along with other Washington NAHU members, met with the offices of Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Denny Heck and Sen. Patty Murray to address meaningful changes to increase stability in health insurance markets and make healthcare plans more affordable and accessible.
Part of the discussions centered on input we had requested from our own GHB clients. Their real-life stories helped illustrate how current healthcare policies are playing out on the ground.
“Making small fixes or amendments to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and shaping healthcare’s future is such a polarizing topic,” Casey shared on his return. “It’s important that we do our part as industry experts to participate. Advocating in DC was a tremendously valuable and unique experience.”
The following were hot-button topics of discussion during the visits, mostly focusing on market stabilizers to reduce cost and improve the individual and employer market risk pools:
Allow any person to purchase catastrophic-category coverage in the individual/family market regardless of age or income status. Currently, catastrophic plans are only available to those under 30 years old and they are not tax-credit eligible.
Reduce the 90-day grace period for nonpayment of premium for individuals receiving premium tax credits to the same 30-day grace period for other covered individuals.
Allow states to fund new hybrid high-risk pools and reinsurance corridors
New pools would not issue coverage, but serve as a reinsurance mechanism to insure risk above certain levels for high-risk individual who enroll after going longer than 60 days without coverage.
Continue (reinstate) funding for Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments – An executive order in October 2017 halted the payments, resulting in significant premium increases, specifically in the silver tier.
Preserve the employer tax exclusion. The employer-sponsored health insurance system provides private-sector, market-based coverage for more than 175 million Americans, including those covered by unions. Eliminating the exclusion would be detrimental to the stability of the employer-based market and would negatively affect middle-class Americans
Allowing COBRA coverage to count as creditable coverage for Medicare beneficiaries(those eligible) just as employer-sponsored coverage does. This will allow beneficiaries to have access to Part B on a timely basis without penalties for late entry into the program.
GHB Insurance remains committed to helping our clients with affordable and accessible healthcare coverage and keeping them informed of any changes in healthcare policy that could affect them.