July 23, 2010

Insurance director addresses agents; discusses high-risk pool, health care reform

Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff addressed more than 250 members of the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) this week, laying out the steps state regulators have been taking to implement consumer protections in the new federal health care reform law.

Huff held a Q&A with MAIA Executive Vice President Larry Case at the group's 2010 Leadership Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. Huff told the group his department has already been involved in the new federally funded high-risk pool and has begun the process of additional oversight required to enforce the law.

"From the high-risk pool to coverage of adult children to planning full coverage of preventive care, several parts of the new law are already affecting Missouri consumers," said Huff. "There is also a great deal of consumer education that needs to happen through the rest of the year and looking toward 2014."

In 2014, many of the most significant reforms of the new law take place, including the guaranteed right to buy insurance at competitive rates, regardless of health status.

Besides health care reform, Case and Huff discussed the availability of earthquake insurance in Missouri. In February, Huff expressed concern that it's difficult for Missouri consumers to buy through earthquake coverage without large deductibles.

Huff also said thanks to State-Based Systems, the department's online licensing tool, most agents can get same-day credit for continuing education hours and get their licensing applications processed in one business day. These services typically took three to five days in the past. The department also this month unveiled an easy three-step online license renewal system, found at insurance.mo.gov/renewin3.

Director Huff is available to speak to industry and consumer groups across Missouri. To request an appearance, contact the department at 573-751-4126 or insurance.mo.gov.