One econ major. Three (or more) opinions.

Insurance agents and brokers have been looking for years for major changes in the U.S. health finance system that never really seemed to come.

This year, as members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) head to Atlanta for the group’s 83rd annual convention, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) seems to be making the change start to happen.

There are all the restrictions on use of personal health information, the rate review rules, and the minimum medical loss ratio rules.

In Atlanta, NAHU seems to be offering a number of sessions that could help agents and brokers adjust if the major medical market is no longer a hospitable market, and that might help even if PPACA suddenly disappeared.

One item on the agenda is a two-hour NAHU wellness certification course. Another is an overview of the voluntary/worksite benefits market.

The biggest, “platinum level” sponsor is Aflac Inc. (NYSE:AFL), a voluntary benefits company.

Three of the other major sponsors are Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) ; Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, a unit of WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP); and Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth Grup Inc. (NYSE:UNH), but a number of other major health insurers don’t seem to be on the sponsor list.

On the one hand, you never know. Maybe PPACA will fizzle out and not be as rough on NAHU members as some fear. 

On the other hand, that’s what I said about Sandy.

On the third hand, if you’re going into a storm, it doesn’t hurt to have the support of a professional group like NAHU that’s gotten through 83 years of ups, downs and storms.

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