State insurance commissioners oppose federally mandated interstate insurance sales

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners penned a letter to four leaders in the House stressing the importance of caution as lawmakers craft an ACA replacement and listing priorities among payers throughout the country.

The letter was addressed to three Republican congressmen: Reps. Greg Walden from Oregon, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Kevin Brady from Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Richard Neal from Massachusetts, ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee. It was also addressed to Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In it, NAIC specifically called upon House leaders to provide greater flexibility to states when considering possible replacements for the ACA. However, NAIC denounced proposals that would allow for the sale of insurance across state lines and the existence of association health plans, which allow small business owners to group together through a trade or professional association to purchase health coverage.      

NAIC wrote it strongly opposes legislation for the interstate sale of insurance — if mandated by the federal government — because this would jeopardize consumer protections and strip states of the option to form agreements amongst themselves. The national payer association also opposes association health plans, a hallmark of a plan presented by HHS Secretary Nominee Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., because they would "preempt state solvency requirements and regulations."

"Such federal actions would strip states of the ability to protect consumers and create competitive markets and should be rejected," the letter reads.

NAIC wrote it stands ready to work with Congress on making health insurance more affordable and accessible. "We encourage the committees to seek the input of state insurance regulators and the NAIC as you consider possible replacements to or amendments of the ACA," the letter states.

Read the full letter here.

Correction: This article incorrectly stated NAIC opposes interstate insurance sales. However, NAIC opposes interstate insurance sales mandated by the federal government. It does not oppose states working together to find a solution for interstate sales. This article was updated at 2:15 p.m. CT to reflect that information.

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