It also called on Congress to rein in marketing and sales abuses

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has warned insurance companies to end practices that alarm senior citizens about federal health reform efforts, and has called on Congress for changes to end marketing and sales abuses.

In a letter to Chairman Max Baucus and ranking member Charles Grassley of the US Senate Finance Committee, the NAIC has cited indication from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of possible “misleading communications” to policyholders.

Roger Sevigny, president of NAIC and New Hampshire insurance commissioner, said: “State insurance regulators take scare tactics directed at senior citizens very seriously. To the extent that state insurance agents and brokers may be participating in these communications or insurance companies are contacting non-Medicare Advantage policyholders, state regulators will remain vigilant and take appropriate action.”

Sandy Praeger, chairman of the NAIC Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee and Kansas insurance commissioner, said: “State regulators believe that these troublesome practices are directly tied to excess payments made to Medicare Advantage plans, and support changes made to federal law that would reign in these abuses. In addition to changes to payments made to Medicare Advantage plans, we urge you to restore state insurance regulatory authority over Medicare private plans.”