Members of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) are preparing to head to New Orleans for the group’s 85th annual convention.

Organizers are expecting more than 800 health insurance professionals to show up for the event, up from about 600 at the 2014 meeting, which was held in Scottsdale, Ariz.

See also: NAHU members face the heat

The 2015 meeting is set to start Sunday and end Wednesday.

Concerns about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) will hang over the meeting, as they have every year since Barack Obama became president, but NAHU has tried to offer professional development sessions that will help members help their customers no matter what happens in Washington, or at the PPACA public exchange system.

Speakers will talk Monday about topics such as benefit design, tools for analyzing health plans that include health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements, payroll compliance, health benefits captives, specialty drug management and private exchanges.

Benefits lawyers will also talk about strategies for handling U.S. Department of Labor audit letters and how the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan fiduciary standards apply to health plan standards.

See also: NAHU 2013: Bruce Benton looks back

NAHU leaders have been working to educate members about the complicated legal rules that apply to any efforts by agents and brokers to talk about compensation levels and related matters, but attendees will clearly be thinking about concerns about how interested the big health insurers still are in the off-exchange commercial health insurance market, pressure on commissions, rumors of health insurer mergers and acquisitions, and speculation about why UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) is leaving the insurers’ biggest trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

At press time, the only sponsor at the gold level was Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM). And the only insurance company sponsor at the next level, the crystal level, was Aflac Inc. (NYSE:AFL). Other insurance company sponsors include Pan American Life, Mutual of Omaha, Colonial Life and HCC Medical.

PPACA uses tax credits to help people pay for health coverage, and one of the event’s bronze-level sponsors is Liberty Tax Service.

See also: NAHU 2012: Some See Silver Lining to PPACA Worries