Legislative Updates

TAHU is the Texas Association of Health Underwriters. We have more than 1,400
members across the state who help people and employers of all sizes find the best
health insurance for their needs. Our clients range from individuals to mom-and-pop
small businesses to larger companies. For many of those companies, we effectively
serve as their Human Resources Department, especially when it comes to their health
insurance needs. Our assistance begins with researching the best plans for each
consumer, and continues all the way through assisting with claims when needed.
Texans desire a healthcare system that delivers world-class care and financial security.
This system should be accessible and affordable, and it should have a positive impact
on the nation's economy. Successful healthcare reform will maximize consumer choice,
restrain skyrocketing medical care costs and increase access to healthcare for more
Americans. TAHU has consistently supported positive reform that achieves the
objectives of affordability and accessibility.
TAHU's members believe these three pillars form the key to crafting a comprehensive
approach to meeting this challenge. The following issues are critical to maintaining a
responsible, accessible, and affordable healthcare system for all Americans:
TAHU is dedicated to ensuring continued access to the crucial services of statelicensed health insurance agents, brokers
and consultants who work on a daily basis to help individuals and employers of all sizes purchase health insurance, use their
coverage effectively, and make sure they get the most out of the benefits they have
purchased. Consumers' need for help from a licensed professional will only increase
as the national health reform conversation continues to evolve and legal compliance
demands on employers and individuals increase.
By far, the greatest access barrier to health insurance coverage in America today is cost. Constraining skyrocketing medical costs is
the most critical - and vexing -aspect of healthcare reform. The cost of healthcare delivery is the key driver in rising health insurance premiums
and it is putting the cost of health insurance coverage beyond the reach of many  Texans.
Healthcare is the last remaining consumer purchase where the customer rarely
knows the price of the service in advance and the provider often doesn't either. A
recent poll found that more than two-thirds of Texans who attempted to compare
health care prices before getting the care they needed were able to save money.
True transparency enables customers to comparison shop and choose the service
they need at the price they can afford. Consumers also need to be able to compare
quality metrics between providers to make an educated choice. TAHU supports
letting health plans share quality and price comparison information with consumers
and doctors in their networks.
Surprise medical bills are #1 on Americans' list of health care cost problems - more
than insurance copays, deductibles, drug costs or premiums. Texas is at the heart of
this problem - more than one-third of emergency room visits result in a surprise or
balance bill after the patient is discharged, which is much higher than the national
average. TAHU supports ending surprise billing and requiring health plans and
providers to directly resolve these disputes without the consumer in the middle.
Texas continues to have the highest uninsured rate in the country - most are low
income, working families. Section 1332 state innovation waivers (effectively an way
to carve out an exception to the ACA for Texas) are fantastic opportunities to pursue
innovative and localized solutions to improve access to care. The legislature can
authorize TDI to apply for these waivers and make healthcare more local, reduce
administrative hassles, lower cost and improve access for families and small
businesses. TAHU supports the creation of a robust, competitive health insurance
market with maximum private competition and consumer choice of affordable
options so Texans can take personal responsibility for their health care needs.

CONTACT TAHU: P.O. Box 266682 Houston, Texas 77207 713-645-1490  www.TAHU.org
TAHU REGISTERED LOBBYISTS:Shannon Meroney and Mike Meroney (512) 499-8880

Legislative advertising paid for by the Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU); Shannon Meroney of
Meroney Public Affairs, LLC; 1402 Nueces Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Government Code §305.027(e)

 Ron Buffum. AAHU Legislative Chair