Downtown San Diego Bay. (Photo: Shutterstock)

U.S. health insurance company executives have arrived at their industry’s 2018 annual meeting with pretty good current earnings and utter confusion about how the federal government will do things in 2019.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry’s biggest trade group, put a session track on “navigating uncertainty” on the agenda for its AHIP Institute event, which started Wednesday in San Diego.

AHIP has been working in Washington to try to stabilize the regulatory environment. The group has, for example, been trying to shore up public support for the group health tax exclusion, and for efforts to keep the Trump administration’s new association health plan (AHP) program from hurting AHP employer members, the employers’ employees, or providers of fully insured major medical insurance.

But most of the AHIP Institute sessions, and speakers, have been focusing on factors that health insurers can control, even without a stable regulatory environment, such as upgrading their information technology systems, and improving efforts to get enrollees to eat better, exercise more, and cut down on use of harmful substances.

(Related: Cigna CEO Set to Lead AHIP in 2019)

AHIP is holding the event with a new chief executive officer, Matt Eyles, at the helm, and a new chairman-elect, Cigna CEO David Cordani, already on track to lead the AHIP board in 2019.

The list of speakers includes AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, former President George W. Bush, and the health policy star of the week, Dr. Atul Gawande, the Harvard public health professor who was just tapped to be the CEO of a closely watched health benefits company being created by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.

Many of the speakers have been talking about the “social determinants of care,” or efforts to address the effects of factors such as poverty, age, lack of ability to drive on how well health plan enrollees take care of themselves.

Exposition Swag Highlights

The AHIP event includes an exposition as well as an annual meeting. The exhibit hall offers a look at hundreds of health plans and health plan services providers, and a look at trends in exhibitor strategies for attracting people to exhibit hall booths.

Here’s a sampling of AHIP exposition booth attendee lure highlights, drawn from the exhibitors’ Twitter posts.

  • ACS Group, an outsourcing and information technology consulting company, is giving away a hand-made elephant sculpture.
  • Appian has been promoting its contact center coding system with a complimentary chair massage.
  • Envolve, a Centene Corp. benefits management and coordination unit, has been giving away coffee mugs.
  • Graphcom, marketing company, has been giving visitors a chance to play with a giant Operation game.
  • Health Dialog, an enrollee health coaching company, has been inviting booth visitors to spin a giant wheel for a chance to win prizes.
  • The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that promotes hospital safety improvement efforts, has been offering a drawing for an Amazon Echo Spot.
  • LexisNexisHealthCare, an information services company, has been offering a drawing for a $250 gift card.
  • WEX Health, a health account management company, has been serving champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

— Read Health Insurers Mount Major Defense of ‘Coverage at Work’on ThinkAdvisor.

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