What About the Consumer?

By Lynne Ide

Photo Credit: CBIA

Photo Credit: CBIA

The legislative session is in full swing and the vested interests are at it again.

Insurance brokers are making another bid to gain a seat on the board of the state’s health insurance exchange, AccessHealth CT. Legislators have it backwards, they should be working to put a health care consumer on the board.

Sadly, there’s no such “pro-consumer” push.  Instead, for a third year insurance brokers are advocating to get their own spot at the table.

A bit of history here:  When the 2011 bill creating AccessHealth CT was written, the board was purposely designed to have no members that derived financial gain from the insurance industry.  Need I say more?

I will be the first to admit that numerous brokers have played a very constructive part in the successful roll-out of AccessHealth CT.  They have helped thousands of people shop for the right health insurance policy via the exchange.  By law they provide this service at no cost to the consumer.  But if they sell a health insurance policy, they are compensated by insurers.

At the same time some brokers were helping AccessHealth CT roll-out, others were busy spouting misinformation and outright lies about the Affordable Care Act.  Some consumers reported being steered away from the state’s exchange by brokers — and not for the best of reasons.

My question is:  Why are legislators worried about the brokers getting a seat on AccessHealth CT’s board?  Their voice will always be heard because they are an integral part of the health insurance marketplace.

The real question should be: What about the consumer?

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