ACTION ALERT!! Health Insurance Competition

ACTION ALERT!! Health Insurance Competition

Support REAL competition between insurance companies
Contact Senators today

Senate bill 145 will receive a public hearing in a subcommittee tomorrow morning. 

This bill would prohibit a health insurance company (usually the largest) from contractually forcing healthcare providers to charge other insurance companies more for the same services.   These contract clauses are referred to as “most favored nation” clauses because they guarantee that only one insurance company gets the best rates from hospitals and doctors. 

Because of most favored nation clauses other health insurance companies can’t compete on a level playing field with the “big dog”.

This anti-competitive practice reduces the number of healthcare insurance options you have and drives up premiums 20% or more.

Contact the Senators below today with this message:

“Support REAL competition between health insurance companies.  Stop Most Favored Nation clauses by voting for S.145.”

The contact information for all these Senators can be found by clicking here.

Senators to contact:

Ronnie Cromer (subcommittee chair)
Nikki Setzler
Billy O’Dell
Tom Davis
Joel Lourie

ACT NOW to reduce your health insurance premiums. 

DEMAND REAL COMPETITION

Press Release
March 19, 2013
Contact:  Frank Knapp, 803-252-5733 (o), 803-600-6874 (m)

Small Business Chamber calls on Senate to stop protecting
Blue Cross Blue Shield

Columbia, SC—A bill originally filed in January of 2011 will finally get a public hearing in a South Carolina Senate subcommittee tomorrow.  The bill, S.145 sponsored by Senator Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), would prohibit a health insurance company (usually the largest) from contractually forcing healthcare providers to charge other insurance companies more for the same services.   These contract clauses are referred to as “most favored nation” clauses because they guarantee that only one insurance company gets the best rates from hospitals and doctors. 

“Because of most favored nation clauses other health insurance companies can’t compete on a level playing field with the ‘big dog’,” said Frank Knapp, Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.  “And in this state the ‘big dog’ is Blue Cross Blue Shield—not only in having the most policies in the state but also having the power to stop this bill from even having a public hearing until now.  We are very appreciative of the new chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for allowing this important bill to be debated in our Legislature.”

One comparative analysis between health insurance rates in counties on both sides of the South Carolina-Georgia border shows startling results.  The premiums in the South Carolina counties are on average 20 percent higher for small businesses and up to 30% higher on average for individual policies.

“If we truly believe that competition is needed to keep health insurance premiums down, then South Carolina must join about a dozen other states in outlawing most favored nation clauses,” said Knapp.  “Without real competition in the insurance industry, we might as well have government controlled health insurance.  At least then the public would have some influence over rates.”

Most Favored Nation clauses are currently being attacked in a major private lawsuit against BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.  In 2010 the U.S. Justice Department sued Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for violating antitrust laws with most favored nation clauses.  In 2011 it became public that the Justice Department was also conducting an investigation into similar practices in South Carolina involving Blue Cross Blue Shield. 

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