Increased medical loss ratios (MLRs) are devastating health insurance producers’ balance sheets and driving agents out of the health insurance business. As of January, the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act increased the MLR requirement imposed on health insurance companies, forcing many carriers to reduce agent commissions by 25 percent or more.
The objective behind imposing MLRs is to ensure that consumers receive the full value of their premium dollars. This is accomplished by implementing a shift in how insurance carriers spend their money. Insurance carries are now required to spend premium dollars on direct medical services, rather than on administrative costs and profits. Under the new MLR program, insurers must spend 80 to 85 cents of every dollar on direct medical services. Insurers who fail to meet the MLR requirement must either adjust their premiums to account for any discrepancies, or refund excess premiums to consumers.
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For previous coverage of health care reform in Advisor’s Journal, see Long-term Care Insurance Reform Act of 2010 (CC 10-46), Changes Affecting Large Employers in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-17), Changes Affecting Business in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-16), & Changes Affecting Individuals in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-15).