National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) President Walter Bell recently led a delegation of chief insurance regulators from the NAIC and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) in a joint health insurance seminar.
The meeting was held in China’s Hu Bei Province, and included high–level Chinese government officials, state insurance commissioners and academic and industry representatives.
Established under the work program of the NAIC/CIRC Joint Insurance Working Group, the two–day seminar focused on proposed reforms to China’s health care system, drawing on lessons from the health sector in the United States and the global perspectives of health care reform.
To increase regulatory cooperation, the NAIC signed an MOU with China in 2002. To further enhance this initiative, the Joint Insurance Working Group was created in 2006. The mission of the group is to work cooperatively on specific insurance issues of interest to benefit both regulatory entities and their respective insurance markets. The first topic chosen by the group was Enhancing the Role of Commercial Insurers in China’s Health Sector.
“It is quite apparent to everyone that the anticipated reforms to China’s health sector will lead to incredible growth and increased access to affordable health care,” Bell said. “In our first Seminar, we identified key factors and challenges in the delivery of health care services throughout China’s urban centers and vast rural areas. Just this year, CIRC Chairman Wu Dingfu said the insurance industry should take advantage of valuable opportunities surrounding health insurance by working with commercial insurers, and I certainly agree.”
During the seminar, U.S. participants shared views on relevant state–specific programs, including Georgia’s use of telemedicine and Montana’s use of tax incentives to increase the spread of health insurance to underserved regions. Several company representatives shared their experiences and provided examples of successful products and programs, several of which were done in partnership with the government.
The Working Group’s next meeting is scheduled to take place in the latter part of 2007.
About the NAIC
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. The NAIC’s overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry by offering financial, actuarial, legal, computer, research, market conduct and economic expertise. Formed in 1871, the NAIC is the oldest association of state officials. For more than 135 years, state-based insurance supervision has served the needs of consumers, industry and the business of insurance at-large by ensuring hands-on, frontline protection for consumers, while providing insurers the uniform platforms and coordinated systems they need to compete effectively in an ever-changing marketplace. For more information, visit NAIC on the Web at: http://www.naic.org/press_home.htm.