America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is kicking off its latest annual meeting as it and its members are moving through a barrage of new laws, new regulations, court battles and economic trends.

AHIP, Washington, officially starts the AHIP Institute 2011 in San Francisco Thursday and ends the institute Friday, but it has organized several additional events that are taking place at about the same time and giving health insurance executives and other attendees even more time to explore their terror of and fascination with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) and PPACA’s companion act, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

“We know all of you are busy,” AHIP President Karen Ignagni says in a recorded message to attendees. “We know you have no extra time.”

AHIP has tried to help by concentrating the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible amount of time, Ignagni says.

AHIP — which is following the lead of the Obama administration and calling the package the Affordable Care Act — is offering an Affordable Care Act Compliance Forum that is closed to the press.

The list of forum speakers includes Gary Cohen, acting director of the Office of Oversight at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Missouri Insurance Director John Huff, who is now state insurance regulators’ non-voting representative on the new federal Financial Stability Oversight Council.

If PPACA takes effect as written and works as supporters hope, it is supposed to create a new system of health insurance purchase tax credits and a new system of health insurance exchanges that will help individuals and small businesses buy coverage. Many health insurers — and health insurance industry support services providers — are hoping those PPACA components will create business opportunities.

AHIP has responded to those hopes by offering an Exchange Conference aimed at would-be exchange builders. The speakers at that event include executives from companies that have designed and administered existing insurance exchanges in states such as Massachusetts. Sponsors of the Exchange Conference include exchange services sellers such as Connecture Inc., Atlanta; EHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif.; and DRX Inc., Los Angeles.

For the main AHIP Institute 2011 event, AHIP has brought out the household names. Scheduled general session speakers include presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and former U.S. senators Tom Daschle and Judd Gregg.

To close the proceedings, AHIP is offering a look at the 2012 presidential elections featuring James Carville and Mary Matalin.

Vendors have started to send out a stream of press releases timed to coincide with the AHIP event.

SAS, Cary, N.C. — a data analysis organization — has put out a release suggesting that health insurers will flourish if they do better data analysis.

Microsoft Corp., Bellevue, Wash., has announced that 14 health plans will be using its customer relationship management system.

IkaSystems Corp., Southborough, Mass., is promoting its cloud computing services by announcing that it is sponsoring a session on the role of cloud computing in managing health insurer costs.

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