Insurance agents support creation of a state-run Health Insurance Exchange, worrying that a federally run exchange could run them out of business.
The state wraps up its public hearings Wednesday evening with a meeting at the Marina Inn Conference Center, 385 East 4th Street, South Sioux City. The public hearing begins at six o’clock.
Mark Kolterman with the Nebraska Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors told a public hearing held in Lincoln his association favors Nebraska running its own exchange.
“Our rationale for that is very simple,” Kolterman said. “It would allow Nebraskans to retain some local control over our health care industry and would also demonstrate Nebraska’s continued commitment to small government and fiscally prudent principles.”
Kolterman said the experience members of his association have had with the Medicare, Part D prescription drug program make them leery about a federally run exchange.
Rob Hansen with Professional Insurance Agents of Nebraska and Iowa claimed a state-based exchange is best both for agents and consumers.
“A Nebraska exchange is the only option that will assure that Nebraska consumers will have the advice and advocacy of Nebraska licensed insurance agents and advisors,” according to Hansen. “A state exchange will maintain state authority and jurisdiction for insurance sales that are already regulated by our state and therefore will reduce overlapping and confusing regulation by the federal government.”
Brian Jacobsen with the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska told Gov. Dave Heineman there is no evidence local insurance agents will be involved in a federal exchange.
“And I think that’s another thing that needs to be looked at when we’re looking at the budget constraints and what the cost to having an exchange is. I think we have to look at that from what the cost to the state is in not having an exchange,” Jacobsen said.
“Let me just follow-up on that,” Heineman responded. “I think all of us want all of you involved, the question is: does the type of exchange limit that involvement or not?’
Informal public hearings on creation of a Health Insurance Exchange under provisions of the federal health care law began in late August in Gering. Gov. Heineman held two hearings in Lincoln. A public hearing was held in Omaha on Monday night. The final hearing will be held Wednesday evening in South Sioux City.