Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Hartford Courant editorial calls on insurance exchange to add consumer voices

For the second time, the Hartford Courant’s Editorial Board has called on the health insurance exchange to add voting consumer members. “Giving consumer advocates a voice, and a vote, will almost surely further the stated goals of the exchange: to provide more health care choices, to enhance the quality of health care, to hold insurance companies more accountable and to lower health care costs.” The editorial points out that Lt. Gov. Wyman, Chair of the Exchange, believes that legislators need to change the law but “she also made the curious statement that adding consumer voices to the board ‘would do nothing less than undermine the progress Connecticut has made in becoming one of the states in the forefront of implementing this historic and much-needed reform.’" Frankly, the law is fine, a national model in conflict of interest protection, excluding any members “affiliated” with insurers. Federal regulations also state that a majority of members should represent consumers. Currently, three Board members have deep ties to the insurance industry and no voting members represent consumers. One in ten CT residents is expected to buy their coverage from the exchange. The Board is responsible for deciding which insurers will be able to sell plans in the exchange, what standards they will have to meet, what benefits they have to offer, and what they can charge.

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