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10/23/2017 01:58 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20170&cosponId=24172
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 19, 2017 08:25 AM
From: Senator Mario M. Scavello
To: All Senate members
Subject: Consumer Access to Insurance Professionals
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation, similar to House Bill 2342 (Tobash) of 2015-16, that allows licensed insurance agents to charge a fee to consumers when no commissions are paid. As a reaction to the Affordable Care Act many insurance companies no longer pay commissions for individual health insurance policies.

The insurance landscape in Pennsylvania is complex with networks and deductibles and coverages that need to be studied before the right option can be chosen. Internet-based systems like healthcare.gov, or even talking with an anonymous out of state unlicensed employee without specific Pennsylvania expertise can only take a consumer so far. With looming Federal uncertainties about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the need for personal consultation has become an even greater necessity.

Wording in the Producer Licensing Law (Act 147) specifically prohibits an insurance agent or broker from charging a fee for assisting with the completion of an application. This legislation amends Act 147 to say that an agreed-on fee may be charged for this assistance if no commission is paid. Per insurance law, when a fee is charged, the customer must know that there is a fee, what that fee is for, the amount of the fee and agree to the fee. These consumer protections would certainly apply under this legislation.

The complex insurance market will only become more challenging to navigate with changes at the Federal level. Right now, the individual health insurance market is in dire straits and consumers are largely forced to fend for themselves. This legislation will provide an opportunity for consumers to seek advice and assistance from Pennsylvania licensed insurance professionals to assist them in meeting their health insurance needs.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov.