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ALL PUSHING IN THE SAME DIRECTION...RETURNING THE CONNECTOR TO ITS TRUE MANDATE by Jean Russell

The Massachusetts Association of Underwriters (MassAHU) supports Health Care Reform and the noble goal of providing health insurance for all citizens of Massachusetts. Health insurance brokers are an integral part of the health insurance system and have become part of the Commonwealth Connector’s distribution network. However, we are concerned about the Connector’s determination to write group health insurance plans, which we fear may contribute to the unraveling of the entire health care system.

We realize that the Massachusetts Legislature worked diligently to write the enabling legislation, and we all recognize that significant progress has been made. But, the evolving role of the Connector continues to concern us. Specifically, in July, 2008, the Connector is planning to market Commonwealth Choice plans to Massachusetts employers – even employers who already have existing health insurance policies for their employees through one of the major health plans in Massachusetts including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tufts and Harvard Pilgrim.

The solicitation of existing policyholders will cause significant disruption to the current distribution model and lead to tremendous instability in the pricing of small group plans.

Unnecessary rising premiums will result in a dangerous backlash by local carriers and small businesses. The ensuing instability will bring negative attention nationwide, undermining the great strides that already have been made. The long-term success of health care reform depends upon all stakeholders pushing in the same direction.

It is imperative that the Connector return to its true mandate of insuring the uninsured, instead of attempting to insure groups that already are covered. The direct intervention of our elected leaders is needed to redirect the Connector’s purpose and to prohibit it from marketing to or accepting business from Massachusetts employers who already have coverage.

Jean Russell, President, MassAHU

This program aired on March 20, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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