The Senate Finance Committee is "looking into" whether not-for-profit organizations merit their tax-exempt status, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) confirmed. Baucus, the committee's ranking minority member, declined to provide further details. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) announced in March that his committee would conduct a similar examination, focused on whether not-for-profits behave differently enough in the marketplace to justify preferential tax treatment. Baucus responded to a Modern Healthcare question while promoting a new campaign against fraudulent health insurance plans.
The television and online campaign, launched today by America's Health Insurance Plans, warns consumers to be cautious when selecting health coverage. "It's vital that efforts like this be undertaken," Baucus said. He cited a General Accounting Office study that found more than 200,000 fake insurance policies had been sold in the past three years, leaving behind over $250 million in unpaid medical claims. The finance committee recently held hearings on the matter, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners earlier this week sent the committee a letter outlining steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of fraudulent plans. -- by Jeff Tieman