< Back to S. 2068 (112th Congress, 2011–2013)

Text of the Access to Independent Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2012

This bill was introduced on February 2, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Feb 2, 2012 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2068

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 2, 2012

(for herself, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, and Ms. Murkowski) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to preserve consumer and employer access to licensed independent insurance producers.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Access to Independent Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2012.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Licensed independent insurance producers (agents and brokers) provide a wide range of services for both individual consumers and the business community. Producers interface with insurers, acquire quotes, analyze plan options, and consult clients through the purchase of health insurance.

(2)

Licensed independent insurance producers provide guidance regarding benefit and contribution arrangements to ensure compliance with applicable State and Federal laws and regulations; assist with establishing section 125 plan tax savings under the Internal Revenue Code, health reimbursement arrangements, flexible spending arrangements, evaluating and securing small business tax credits as provided in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and other programs to maximize tax advantages and ensure compliance with applicable Internal Revenue Service guidelines; create educational materials and provide on-site assistance to aid in employee benefit communication; assist in managing eligibility for new hires and terminated employees; provide advocacy for employees through the health insurance claim process; and advocate for employers with insurers in developing proposals, renewals, and for service issues throughout the year.

(3)

In order to meet these responsibilities, licensed independent insurance producers are required to complete continuing education on an ongoing basis in order to maintain appropriate licenses. This requirement to maintain educational standards helps assure the insured public that producers remain current with the ever-evolving insurance market.

(4)

It is essential that licensed independent insurance producers continue to perform these duties, and others, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has made significant changes to the regulatory environment for health plans. To understand these changes, employers and consumers will need professional guidance even more in the future. This service is especially important for small businesses, as such producers often fill the role of a human resources department as well as professional consultant.

(5)

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), whose core mission is to protect consumers in all aspects of the business of insurance, strongly advocates for the continuing role of licensed independent insurance producers in health insurance, and has expressed that the ability of insurance agents and brokers to continue assisting health insurance consumers at a time of rapid insurance market changes is more essential than ever. On November 22, 2011, the NAIC adopted a resolution stating that Congress should expeditiously consider legislation amending the MLR provisions of the PPACA in order to preserve consumer access to agents and brokers.

(6)

It is critical that the indispensable role played by licensed independent insurance producers is recognized and protected.

3.

Protecting the ability of licensed independent insurance producers to continue to serve the public

(a)

In general

Section 2718 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–18), as inserted by section 1001 and amended by section 10101(f) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 110–148), is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(3), by inserting , remuneration paid for licensed independent insurance producers, after State taxes; and

(2)

in subsection (b)(1)—

(A)

in the matter preceding clause (i) of subparagraph (A), by inserting , remuneration paid for licensed independent insurance producers in the individual and small group market, after State taxes; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)(i)(II), by inserting , remuneration paid for licensed independent insurance producers in the individual and small group market, after State taxes; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Independent insurance producer remuneration definitions

For purposes of this section:

(1)

The term independent insurance producer means an insurance agent or broker, insurance consultant, benefit specialist, limited insurance representative, and any other person required to be licensed under the laws of the particular State to sell, solicit, negotiate, service, effect, procure, renew or bind policies of insurance coverage or offer advice, counsel, opinions, or services related to insurance.

(2)

The term remuneration means compensation paid by or accrued from an insurance issuer or health plan for services rendered under contractual agreement which may include fees, commissions, or rebates, but which shall not include production bonuses.

.

(b)

Regulations

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall amend any applicable regulations as necessary to implement the amendments made by subsection (a).