Filed Under:Markets, Employee Benefits

Kaiser: 73% of Brokers Dislike PPACA; 20% Like It

(Kaiser Family Foundation/Survey of Health Insurance Agents)
(Kaiser Family Foundation/Survey of Health Insurance Agents)

A few U.S. health insurance brokers say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) will help the United States as a whole.

But most brokers think PPACA will hurt their businesses, and even more think PPACA will hurt other brokers' businesses.

Analysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., has reported that finding in a summary of results from a telephone survey of 500 brokers that was conducted in February and March.

About 80% of the brokers polled were in companies with 9 or fewer employees.

The Kaiser analysts found that the brokers polled tended to take a dim view of PPACA, and that, the closer the questions focused on the health insurance brokerage business, the more negatives the views expressed were.

Brokers say a PPACA minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) provision that requires health insurers to spend 85% of large group revenue and 80% of individual and small group revenue on health care and qualtiy improvement efforts is giving insurers an excuse to cut commissions.

About 20% of the brokers said they had a favorable opinion about PPACA, with 11% saying they had a somewhat favorable opinion about PPACA and 9% saying they had a very favorable opinion. The percentage of members of the general public who say they like the law is 41%, the analysts say.

When brokers talked about the effects of PPACA, 14% said it would help the country as a whole, 8% said it would have little effect, and 72% said it would hurt the country.

About 6% of the brokers said they think PPACA will help their own businesses, and 22% said the law will have little effect on their businesses.

Just 4% of the brokers said they think PPACA will help brokers generally, and 14% said it will have no effect on brokers generally; 74% said PPACA will hurt the typical broker.

When the Kaiser analysts asked about specific PPACA programs that have already taken effect, such as the Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) program -- a guaranteed-issue health insurance program for uninsured consumers who were thought to be uninsurable -- only a minority of those familiar with the program said it seemed to be doing much to expand consumers' access to coverage.

About 26% of the producers who were familiar with the PCIP program said it has made coverage more accessible or more affordable for people with health problems; 46% said the program has had no apparent effect, and 13% said it has made matters worse.

But "Those agents who have placed a person in the PCIP are more likely to think that the program has improved access or affordability than agents who have not placed a client in the program," the analysts say.

About 50% of the brokers who have placed a client PCIP think the program is helping, while only 16% of the brokers who have not placed a client in the program said the program is improving access, the analysts say.

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