|Posted:||January 10, 2019 02:38 PM|
|From:||Representative Mike Tobash|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Consumer Access to Insurance Professionals|
I am sponsoring legislation 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.
Insurance 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 greater.
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. My 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 bill.
The complex insurance world will only become more complex 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 proposed legislation will provide an opportunity for them to seek advice and assistance from Pennsylvania licensed insurance professionals to assist them in meeting their needs.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. Last session, the bill number was House Bill 1605.