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NAHU members head to Albuquerque

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Major medical coverage issuers are skipping the upcoming National Association of Health Underwriters annual convention.

NAHU, a group that represents 100,000 health insurance agents and brokers, is holding a board meeting today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it’s preparing to start its 86th annual convention there Sunday.

Radnor, Pennsylvania-based Worldwide Insurance Services will have a booth marketing GeoBlue, a travel medical insurance program that has licensed the rights to use the Blue Cross and Blue Shield trademarks.

The list of exhibitors marketing products such as dental insurance, accident insurance or disability insurance includes Aflac of Columbus, Georgia; Ameritas of Lincoln, Nebraska; Colonial Life, a unit of Unum of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and the Standard of Portland, Ore.

Several wholesalers will be marketing major medical coverage at the convention, and several companies will be marketing stop-loss insurance for self-insured group health plans.

But, at press time, no major medical issuer was on the convention exhibitor list or the convention sponsor list.

The mood has changed since 2012 and 2013, when insurers and some health insurance producers were hoping the new Affordable Care Act medical underwriting restrictions and public health insurance exchange system would lead to lucrative new business opportunities.

Related: NAHU 2012: Some See Silver Lining to PPACA Worries and NAHU 2013: Bruce Benton looks back

In the past year, several individual major medical issuers have responded to concerns about claim costs by announcing sudden sales commission cuts. Many eliminated sales commissions for applicants who come in outside of the ordinary individual medical insurance open enrollment period, which lasts from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

Some producers have been pushing for NAHU to do more to defend agents’ role in U.S. health finance system.

Related: California broker to NAHU: Fight ‘abysmal state of affairs’

NAHU leaders have argued that federal antitrust rules put tight restrictions on the Washington, D.C.-based group’s ability to oppose commission cuts and other changes.

NAHU has been helping the District of Columbia run its own Affordable Care Act exchange. NAHU has also been offering a training program for agents who work with, the ACA exchange set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

At the convention, NAHU will try to help members cope with the effects of ACA changes by offering two sessions on how benefits advisors can shift to charging clients service fees, rather than depending on sales commissions from insurers. 


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