Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gentile lauds law expanding insurance board

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, praised the House of Representatives’ approval Wednesday of legislation (HB 5013) that expands the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange board by four members and also makes Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri a voting member.
     “Expanding the board and making the healthcare advocate a voting member will help guarantee better representation for all stakeholders and especially the people who are in need of affordable, quality health care,” said Gentile House chair of the Planning and Development Committee.  “This is absolutely a huge help for small business.”
     The exchange is a marketplace that will offer affordable, high-quality health insurance options, providing relief to families and small businesses who are struggling to afford insurance.
     The exchange was created by legislation enacted last year as a quasi-public agency, governed by a board of directors, which is empowered to help individuals and small employers obtain health insurance. The exchange will be fully operational starting in 2014.
     “The new legislation not only affords broader representation but also ensures that the exchange board is in compliance with federal regulations. The bill also clarifies the law’s conflict of interest provisions,” Gentile said.
     The legislation requires the president pro tempore of the Senate to appoint a small-organization employer for a two-year term and requires the Speaker of the House to appoint a consumer for a 2-year term. In addition, the majority leaders in the House and Senate will jointly appoint a new member representing consumers and the minority leaders in the House and Senate jointly will name a new member representing small business. This would increase the board from 11 voting members to 16 voting members.
     The bill also clarifies that employees members may not serve as consultants to trade associations of insurers, insurance brokers, health care providers, or health care facilities. Current statute already prohibits exchange board members from being employed by or members of these groups.

The above information was released by Gentile's office.

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