Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Insurance Exchange Board members dominated by insurance interests, no consumer representatives
Members of CT Health Insurance Exchange Board were announced in August. Despite federal law calling for a majority of members to represent consumers, there are no consumer advocate voting members. (Thankfully Vicki Veltri, State Health Care Advocate, will sit at the table but cannot vote.) In addition, three members have long ties to insurance companies as recent employees. This is despite CT law barring members affiliated with insurers, among others, in strong conflict of interest language that has been a beacon among states. Advocates are concerned that representatives of the insurance industry lobbied hard to stop passage of health reform in Washington but are now placed in charge of implementing it here in CT. One in ten state residents are expected to rely on the exchange to purchase coverage in 2014 when the individual mandate becomes effective. It is critical that consumers eligible for Medicaid who apply through the exchange are appropriately referred to that program rather than diverted into insurance plans in the exchange. Advocates sent a letter to members urging them to set aside insurance ties and make consumers their top priority. For press reports, click here, here, here, here, here and here.