FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2023
For more information, contact: Catherina Isidro, Executive Director, California Health Advocates, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-465-8104
NAIC’s Consumer Advocacy Award Renamed in Honor of Bonnie Burns
Sacramento, CA – The Consumer Representatives of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently renamed its annual consumer advocacy award in honor of Bonnie Burns, California Health Advocates’ Training and Policy Specialist, and nationally respected consumer advocate. Burns has served as a consumer representative with the NAIC since the beginning of the program in 1992 and has served multiple terms on the board of the program. The Bonnie Burns Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award is given to a state insurance regulator that has most effectively represented and advanced the interests of consumers at the NAIC and in their home state. Last week, Ms. Burns presented the award to Oregon Insurance Commissioner, Andrew Stolfi for his support of over forty consumer representatives appointed at the NAIC, and for his work on a wide range of consumer protections, transparency, and public engagement at the NAIC and in Oregon.
“Burns is an inspiration to us all with her stellar advocacy and tireless work on behalf of America’s older adults and people with disabilities” said Catherina Isidro, Executive Director of California Health Advocates. “We are thrilled to see her over three decades of contributions recognized and honored in this way.”
Burns’ advocacy efforts have brought significant consumer protections for Medicare beneficiaries state and nationwide. Specifically, she participated in the standardization of Medicare supplemental insurance, known as Medigap. Before standardization, consumers had no dependable way to compare policies and many unwittingly bought more than one policy with duplicate benefits.
In addition, Burns has testified before Congress to guide policies for financing long-term care, including improvements for consumers with long-term care insurance. Much of her work has been incorporated into NAIC Model Laws and Regulations, which serve as a guide for and are often adopted by states. Standards contained in these adopted laws often give consumers protections or rights they might not otherwise have had.
Burns’ successful advocacy efforts have also resulted in added protections under California state law, such as adopting additional Medigap guaranteed issue rights and consumer protections in long-term care insurance.
“Burns is amazing. Her work, dedication, good humor and commitment to helping others has and continues to make a huge difference in the lives of millions of beneficiaries nationwide,” said Tatiana Fassieux, Training and Education Specialist with California Health Advocates. “We are happy to see this award renamed in honor of her living legacy.”
For more information, read Burns’ biography on Our Team page.
California Health Advocates is an independent non-profit organization that provides accurate and timely Medicare and related health care coverage information, education, and policy advocacy. CHA is the grantee of the California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) project, funded by
the Administration for Community Living (ACL). California SMP, and all SMPs around the country, empower and assist people with Medicare and Medicaid to avoid, detect, and report healthcare fraud. CHA also provides community organizations and government agencies with
up-to-date information, and in particular to the 24 local HICAPs that provide individual benefits counseling and community education directly to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. For more information, visit its website at cahealthadvocates.org.