WASHINGTON, March 12, 2019 — The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National) has reaffirmed its long-standing opposition to proposals that would encourage insurance sales across state lines. Such proposals constitute a clear threat to the successful state-based system of insurance regulation, which PIA supports.
PIA National is strongly opposed to an action that seeks to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines. Following President Trump’s October 2017 executive order (EO #13813), directing federal agencies to consider ways to increase competition and consumer choice in healthcare, the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) issued a 60-day request for comment on selling health insurance policies across state lines.
PIA National is a steadfast supporter of the continued regulation of insurance by the states as outlined by the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, and opposes all proposals that would create a version of federal insurance regulation, in full or in part. Allowing the sale of health insurance across state lines could strip the states of their authority over health insurance and undermine the regulatory structure set up by McCarran-Ferguson.
“In its notice, CMS seeks to dismiss these concerns, but we don’t find their assurances credible,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. “The CMS says its request ‘is not intended to inform policy which will preempt state law or otherwise impede the role states play as the primary regulators of insurance,’ however, we believe that’s exactly what would happen, even if its intent might initially be benign. PIA is opposed to proposals such as this one, which would transfer regulatory authority from the states to the federal government.”
“State governors, legislators, and regulators know best what will work in their own unique markets,” Gentile said. “Allowing health insurance to be effectively exempt from state regulation by permitting insurers to pick their own regulator in one state—and by so doing, evade the requirements of all 49 other states—would eviscerate local control.”
PIA agrees that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) needs to be reformed and that the goal of controlling health care costs is a worthy one. However, we doubt that allowing insurance sales across state lines would actually succeed in lowering costs or create more choice for consumers. The solution for these challenges is not the dismantling of the successful state insurance regulatory system.
PIA National will submit comments within the 60-day window and strenuously oppose attempts to subvert the American system of state insurance regulation.
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes, and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street AmericaSM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.
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SOURCE National Association of Professional Insurance Agents