Unless you are an insurance commissioner or an insurance industry lobbyist you probably don’t think much about the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC is a national professional organization of state insurance commissioners. While the NAIC has always enjoyed some power and prestige its importance was elevated by the passage of national health reform.
One would imagine that this group would be sympathetic to consumers. It is, after all, an organization of insurance regulators. But a key NAIC vote last week revealed otherwise.
For more background on the vote see this News & Observer editorial by Consumer Reports President Jim Guest. In short, the Affordable Care Act created a new rule that insurance companies must start spending a minimum amount of each premium dollar on health care. This rule means that in the future insurers will spend more on your medical treatments and less on executive pay, trips to Cabo, fancy new buildings, and agent commissions. It turns out (surprise!) that agents don’t like the idea of insurance companies spending less on commissions.
So insurance agents are trying to effectively reclassify commissions as medical care or quality improvement. Last week the NAIC took up the issue and voted on a resolution urging Congress and Health & Human Services to weaken health reform and suspend or delay implementation of the new rules.
Sadly, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin made the motion for the resolution and voted in favor of this ill conceived recommendation.