For Consumers

False promise of interstate sales of health insurance: Weaker consumer protections, severe lack of choice

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March 2, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a statement warning of the pitfalls of interstate sales of health insurance:

“Proposals at the Congressional level to allow interstate sales of health insurance policies would weaken consumer protection and make insurance harder to get. It’s a false promise that should never be turned loose on consumers.

“Interstate sales of health policies are talked about as part of the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Proponents, including President Trump, say the proposal would benefit consumers.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Interstate sales would lead to a race to the bottom for consumer protection. They would weaken state regulatory power and encourage insurers to locate in the state with the least oversight. Health insurers would then be able to cherry-pick customers and avoid anyone with a health condition. Policies would cover less and discourage the sick from even applying for coverage.

“The overall result would be less competition among health insurers and fewer choices for consumers. The American Academy of Actuaries noted recently that individuals with health conditions would face difficulty in obtaining coverage.

“As the insurance regulator in a state with a long and robust track record of protecting consumers, I adamantly oppose interstate sales of health policies.

“Interstate sales sound good. But scratch below the surface and you discover the reality – a ploy that weakens consumer protection and choice. It’s far from a realistic solution to fixing our health care system.”

See the position of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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