WASHINGTON (Fed. 22, 2010) The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies today applauded the removal of medical liability insurance from legislation seeking to repeal the industry’s limited anti-trust exemption as a good first step while continuing to express concern regarding the overall bill.
Introduced by Reps. Tom Perriello, D-Va., and Betsy Markey, D-Colo., the bill would remove the limited anti-trust exemption for health insurers. As originally drafted in the larger health reform bill, it also included medical professional liability insurers.
“It is important to note that medical professional liability, or better known as medical malpractice insurance, is not a health insurance product,” said Charles M. Chamness, president and CEO of NAMIC. “It is instead a property/casualty insurance product, underwritten by property/casualty companies. Including medical liability insurers in the bill would have made obtaining coverage for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals more difficult and costly, ultimately adding to the problems of high healthcare costs.”
NAMIC has worked diligently to educate members of what the limited exemption does and does not do. Many of the allegations made by repeal proponents, such as price fixing, are already criminal offenses under current law and would be unaffected by a repeal. Instead, repeal would make the market less competitive as smaller insurers would be unable to access loss data and could not accurately rate and price coverage.
“The limited anti-trust exemption is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the insurance industry,” Chamness said. “Any repeal the limited anti-trust exemption in the name of reform would is misguided, and would ultimately harm the consumers that proponents claim to be working for.”
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