OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, June 28, 2012 - The president and chief executive officer of the Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma (IIAO), the state's largest property and casualty insurance agents association, said today association members are extremely disappointed by the U. S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the federal health care law in its entirety.
"Since the Supreme Court has upheld the law, the urgency of creating and implementing a free-market, state-based health insurance exchange by the Oklahoma legislature becomes of even greater importance," said Dan Ramsey. "IIAO urges Governor Fallin and legislative leaders to move swiftly so this complicated process can proceed forward as quickly as possible. Fortunately for all Oklahomans, we are not at "Ground Zero". State Senator Gary Stanislawski and State Representative Glen Mulready did an excellent job during the 2011 legislative interim study period to identify a possible platform that will assure that health insurance choices remain in the hands of Oklahomans rather than the federal government. If a state exchange is not created, the federal government will impose its own exchange program upon Oklahoma in January 2014. Many of the features of Insure Oklahoma may also be utilized to assist in creating an Oklahoma exchange.
The Medical Loss Ratio requirements of the law threatens the livelihood of health insurance agents and brokers, and establishes perverse incentives that make it challenging for new insurers to enter the marketplace or pursue innovative reforms. These provisions may make it difficult for consumers to receive the professional service and advice that has been traditionally provided to them through their insurance agents.
The Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma look forward to working with Governor Fallin, legislative leaders and the private business community to develop an exchange that will best meet the needs of Oklahoma consumers."
IIAO has over 500 member agencies located in all 77 counties, representing over 150 communities across Oklahoma and employing approximately 10,000 Oklahomans. IIAO members do not work for insurance companies. They are independent business owners who provide approximately 80% of the commercial insurance and 35% of personal lines in Oklahoma.