Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 May/June Advocacy

NAIFA WASHINGTON and WAHU working for their membership!

NAIFA WA members please read the following article from the President of WAHU about a meeting we had last Monday with regards to the changes of the Premera Blue Cross/LifeWise Health Plans.  Many of you wanted to know what we knew about this issue.  It was a very good meeting whereby NAIFA WA and WAHU discussed the issues that our respective members had about their decision to pay no commissions for their LifeWise business.  Please read.

~Sharon L. Sparling, NAIFA WA Government Relations Chair

WAHU Has Meeting with LifeWise Health Plan of Washington

Last week, WAHU Lobbyist Mel Sorensen, Immediate Past President Chris Free, and I, along with Sharon Sparling and Richard Ek of NAIFA (WA), met with the President & CEO Jim Havens and Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Executive Jim Messina, of LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, as well as the ‎Vice-President for Congressional & Legislative Affairs for Premera Blue Cross Len Sorrin, to review and discuss the recent announcement by LifeWise that they will be re-structuring their plans and discontinue paying commissions to Producers starting in 2016 (2017 in Clark County).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

2015 May/June OIC

Insurance producers:

This is an update about the Office of Insurance Commissioner's review of association health plans in Washington.

Since January 2014, we have been reviewing all association health plans as they renew. To date, we have approved 11 plans, including the most recent approval for the Washington Education Association.

Our review is focused on two factors:
  • Does the association meet the federal definition of being a true large employer?
  • Are the rates fair?

How the review process works:

  • Large-employer status. First, we determine if an association meets the federal test of being a true or bonafide large employer and therefore able to sell large-employer coverage. Association members must share a common industry or trade and the association must be formed for a purpose other than to sell health insurance. If an association does not meet this definition, it can still offer health insurance to its members, but it cannot offer a large-employer health plan to its members.
  • Review of rates. Second, we review rating practices. Rates must be fair in relation to the benefits. This is true for every health insurance plan, not just for association health plans. If the rates are not justified, the plan is disapproved.

2015 May/June APIC

NAIFA national held the 3rd annual Congressional Conference on May 19-20 in Washington DC.  The Congressional Conference is a national Day on the Hill and approximately 800 Naifa members from around the country descended on the “other” Washington to educate legislators regarding our industry issues.   NAIFA-Washington State members Al Zalewski and Roger McDowell accompanied me, along with soon to be new member Brad Miller.  Between the 4 of us we kept 9 appointments from 10am to 5 pm, missing only 3 of a possible 12 federal legislators from the State. 

The primary topic of discussion was the proposed expansion of the fiduciary rule by the Department of Labor.  This is a confusing issue and consequently it is not on the radar of many agents, advisors, or consumers, as it should be.  Getting bogged down in the details does not inspire action, so here is a summary of key points.