CONSUMER ALERT: Commissioner Donelon cautions consumers not to pay agency fees

Consumer Reports

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is advising those signing up for health insurance during the open enrollment period that agency fees cannot be charged for individual health insurance policies. Agency fees cannot be charged on individual plans whether they’re purchased on or off the Health Insurance Marketplace -

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs through Jan. 31, 2017. During the enrollment period individuals and families who do not receive healthcare through their employers can sign up through the online Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase individual policies sold by agents and insurers. 

I want to make it clear to those purchasing health insurance for themselves and their families that the law prohibits agents from charging a fee on policies,” Donelon said. “It has come to my attention that such prohibited fees are being charged and while we are taking steps to protect policyholders from these additional charges, it’s important that consumers are aware that this is not allowed under state law.”

Last month, the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) issuedDirective 209which stated that producer agency fees on individual health insurance plans are in violation of La. R.S. 22:855 B(2)(a) and 22: 1568(B). The law does allow agency fees to be charged on employer-sponsored group plans, but not individual plans which may cover one person or a family.

Commissioner Donelon urges anyone who thinks they may have been charged a fee on an individual health insurance policy to contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance Office of Consumer Services by calling (800) 259-5300.