Administration Ups & Downs
Since March of 2010, we in the health insurance industry have had to navigate our way through the complicated ACA law and stumble through the initial implementation in 2014. We had very little direction and quite a few unknowns. The challenges were many.
Since January of 2017, President Trump has nipped away at the ACA law and the changes we've had to maneuver are sometimes overwhelming. With the incremental dismantling of the law, change is certainly something we've had to contend with, as well as mass confusion.
When the law was signed by President Obama, there were many promises. Do you remember the message that every family would save $2,500/year on premiums? That didn't happen. Many were excited about coverage with no pre-existing waiting periods and guarantee issue, especially those that struggled with conditions that made it impossible to obtain coverage. If there was a positive in the law, it was access for those that were shut-out previously because of health conditions.
With the new administration, the adverse cause and effect of the dismantling of this law has created instability. For those that want to see the law weakened or dissolved, this is expected and most intend to wait it out. For those that want the law to remain intact, or improved, the instability is regressive.
I contend that no matter what side of the law you are on, there are opportunities to be the voice of expertise to your clients. In fact, you can gain clients by staying informed and becoming their resource.
Are you aware of the new changes that are being discussed and the bills that are being marked up that could have a huge impact on your group clients? For example, the House Ways and Means Committee recently marked up a bill sponsored by Representatives Nunes and Kelly to suspend the Employer Mandate for 2015 through 2019? Do you know the bill also included the further delay on the Cadillac Tax until 2022? Another Bill sponsored by Representatives Roskam and Buress would allow tax credits to be used for individual plans outside of the marketplace and allow people of any age to purchase catastrophic plan coverage. In separate discussions, there has been talk of expanding the use of HSA funds to non-QHDHP plans and even to some seniors!
How wonderful would it be to call your group client, or meet with a new business to discuss insurance options, and share this news? Imagine meeting with an employer struggling with the parameters of this law and you have the answers for them.
Also, imagine what the newly issued expansion rules for short-term medical (STM) could do to assist your individual and family clients that are looking for comprehensive and cost-effective coverage in 2019! Remember, there are $0 tax penalties in 2019 for those that do not have qualified ACA coverage in place. I feel the "new" short-term limited duration medical insurance (STLDMI), which can be sold for up to 364 days with the ability to re-write for up to 36 months, is an attractive option for many of your clients that are between jobs, working part-time, not offered coverage, or not yet Medicare eligible.
It all starts with the willingness to stay informed and become your clients' best resource. Seize the opportunity! This may seem daunting, but I have a few ideas and resources to help.
How to stay informed:
- Become a member of an agent trade group that can lobby on your behalf, such as NAHU & AHIP.
- Read everything you can find, whether it be news feeds, newspapers or articles on social media sites or news sites, you will find information that is important to employers. I send out a weekly health care reform newsletter complete with news articles, carrier and compliance information
- Know what compliance requirements are necessary to keep your groups "penalty-free".
- Attend webinars like my weekly health care reform webinar, which focuses on federal and local legislation, as well as carrier updates. Questions are encouraged, and helpful for all attendees. If you're feeling overwhelmed this weekly platform is a great place to start!
We can still expect a lot of change to take place, which means that both your current and new clients will be looking to you for answers. Don't miss the opportunity to be their resource and build-up trust!