Unintended Consequences?

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The Wall Street Journal reports today that the recently passed health care bill will soon negatively hit brokers’ bottom lines.   This is due to regulation of insurers’ medical loss ratio  (the amount of the health care premium dollar that goes to paying claims).   I don’t personally like the MLR requirements in the bill as I think they can be easily gamed and they don’t really get at the heart of growing health care costs.   That being said, if this requirement encourages insurers to pay brokers a fixed dollar amount (as opposed to a % on the premium) then it’s one of the unintended consequences I’m happy about.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some brokers who are doing really good work out there but I don’t believe commissions should grow at the rate of health care inflation.   In fact, I’d like to really turn this one on its head and have employers pay the broker fee if they use a broker and if they prefer to enroll online without the help of a broker, they should see a discounted premium….let’s shine a light on this cost and move towards a “travel agency model.”