Monday, March 2, 2009

NM Senate Schedules Floor Debate on Health Care Reform.


from Sen. Tim Keller:

Santa Fe , NM – SB259 offers a free market solution to help consumers and business make better decisions with their medical insurance.

“It is clear purchases of medical insurance would benefit from more information about how their premiums are being spent, this is about helping consumer decision making and fostering more competition in the healthcare system,” said bill sponsor Senator Tim Keller (D-Bernalillo-17).

SB259 would require insurance providers to disclose the medical loss ration, historical premiums and any third party commissions when consumers and small business request a medical insurance quote. “I believe true healthcare reform has to connect the cost of services and to the fees we pay, without allowing supply and demand to set an accurate price the public will never get a fair shake and healthy competition in the industry won’t occur,” said Keller after the bill passed out of the corporations committee.

A 2007 study of healthcare financing conducted by UNM’s Institute for Public Health reported a need for greater transparency about information that would help consumers evaluate the costs and performance histories across the various medical insurance plans; including the percent of premium that actually goes to pay for medical services and broker commission and fees.

The survey voiced skepticism around the accuracy information that typically was made available and reported difficulty in comparing competing plans because lack of clear, interpretable information on costs and performance.

While medical insurance providers and brokers have remained neutral on the bill, strong opposition from national home & life insurance brokers who are concerned the bill could eventually open the door for similar rules in there industry. The Public Regulatory Commission, members of the small business community and executive departments have come out in support of the bill.

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