Michael Embry, a longtime Michigan health insurance agent, is now in charge of efforts by the National Association of Health Underwriters to present the agent and broker’s view of the world in Washington and state capitals.

Embry recently took over from James Stenger as the president of the Washington-based health insurance producer group.

(Related: NAHU Educates Washington)

Embry started his own benefits firm in 1989, then ran an in-house benefits division for Comerica Inc., a large Detroit bank, from 1996 to 2014. He bought the division away from Comerica and turned it into Comprehensive Benefits Inc., a Southfield, Michigan-based benefits firm, in 2014.

Embry has been active in NAHU since 1993, and he has been active in public health policy discussions in the Detroit area.

A Detroit television station brought him in for a panel discussion on the House health bill fight in March.

The moderator asked Embry about the idea that health insurance is expensive because the health insurance industry is greedy.

“Health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive,” Embry said.

The best way to lower the cost of insurance is to lower the cost of care, Embry said. He said the best ways to control the cost of care are to give patients more information about what care really costs, and to make sure patients are responsible for paying part of the bill.

Russell Rice, a regional vice president of sales based in Avesis Inc.’s San Antonio office, is NAHU’s new president-elect. Like Embry, Rice has been active in public health policy discussions. In 2010, he testified at a Texas Senate commission hearing about the value insurance agents bring to the public.

The other 2017-2018 NAHU officers are Patricia Griffey of South Bend, Indiana, who is now the group’s vice president; R. Dane Rianhard of Baltimore, the treasurer; and Eugene Starks of Ridgeland, Mississippi, the secretary.

Stenger of Fort Myers, Florida, is the immediate past president. Stenger is a longtime benefits broker who served as the head of the small-group health benefits board in New Jersey for 10 years.

The latest monthly report for the Health Underwriters Political Action Committee, NAHU’s political action committee, show that it raised $281,885 from Jan. 1 through May 31.

 

 

— Read PPACA World 2017: Don Goldmann Looks Ahead on ThinkAdvisor.