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Health Agents for America Heads to Las Vegas

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A 6-year-old group for health insurance agents, Health Agents for America (HAFA), is heading to Las Vegas Thursday for a two-day meeting.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based group is expecting the list of speakers to include Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Cassidy, who is a medical doctor, has been one of the leaders of efforts in the Senate to come up with an Affordable Care Act change bill that can win bipartisan support.

(Related: Senator Sizes Up the New ACA ‘Public Option’ Push (with video))

Other scheduled speakers include David Cassety, who is the Nevada deputy insurance commissioner, and Scott Kipper, a former Nevada insurance commissioner.

Jeff Miles, a longtime agent, will be running the HAFA session on the Trump administration’s new association health plan regulations.

B. Ronnell Nolan, HAFA’s president, wrote in a recent comment on the meeting that she expects some of the major focuses of the meeting to be the AHP regulations; the new Trump administration regulations that eliminate the Obama administration’s 90-day cap on short-term medical insurance benefit terms; and health insurance agents’ efforts to reinvent themselves, in light of health insurers’ producer compensation cuts.

“Our industry continues to change and morph into different avenues, and we must be one step ahead of the curve for survival,” Nolan said.

Nolan gave the AHP regulations as an example of a new development that agents have to think about.

Some agents and insurers say the regulations are not flexible enough to make the AHP market attractive for insurers, and some fear that underwriting rules and financial oversight might be too weak.

Nolan asked agents to not “put your head in the sand.”

“You may have made the decision not to get involved in the sale of association health plans, but you need to understand them and protect and educate your group client base,” Nolan said. “Right NOW, agents/brokers across the United States are working on this niche.”

One possible clue about the state of the 2019 individual major medical market is that HAFA lists HealthSherpa, a company that helps agents deal with Affordable Care Act public exchange programs, as a gold-level sponsor. That could be a sign that HealthSherpa thinks the market will continue to have a pulse.

— Read 3 Reasons Congress Could Approve an ACA Change Billon ThinkAdvisor.

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