PIA National is pleased to name Representative Billy Long (R-MO) the 2019 Legislator of the Year for his long-standing effort to ensure the role of independent insurance agents in delivering healthcare to consumers.
Representative Long represents the 7thCongressional District of Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives. First elected to Congress in 2011, Rep. Long now sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. There, he serves on three subcommittees: Energy, Communications and Technology, and Health.
Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Long owned real estate and auction businesses in Missouri.
Why he’s important to agents:
Representative Long has been a strong supporter of PIA priorities in Congress when it comes to healthcare. He supports healthcare reform that recognizes the role of independent insurance agents, and, in the 115thCongress, he was the primary sponsor of a bill aimed at getting independent insurance agents back into the business of selling health insurance. The Access to Independent Health Insurance Advisors Act was a bipartisan piece of legislation that would have provided that certain compensation for agents and brokers is exempt from the medical loss ratio (MLR) calculation.
The ACA created the MLR requirement to limit the percentage of premium that a health insurance company can spend on administrative costs. The requirement was intended to ensure that consumers receive sufficient value for their healthcare dollar. However, in the creation of the MLR requirement, agent and broker commissions were improperly classified as administrative costs, limiting consumer access to the essential resources of agents and brokers. This negatively affected independent insurance agents and consumers, who increasingly lack access to qualified health experts to advise them on their insurance plans.
To address this issue, PIA National helped develop and endorsed Rep. Long’s bill, which was introduced in the House by Reps. Long and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in the 115th Congress.
PIA National is working to have this legislation reintroduced in the 116thCongress.