Member Update – November 2020

Can it really be 4th quarter?? It seems unreal that we have lived in this Covid-19 environment for the past nine months with no clear end in sight. In the meantime, we continue to work with our clients, negotiate 2021 renewals, and prepare for the future impact of the pandemic and the outcome of our national election. Stay with us to remain informed and proactive on behalf of the clients you serve, and invite your colleagues to join MassAHU. We need to stay vigilant on behalf of our clients and cannot do so without your support.

Zoom Tuesday is Next Tuesday, November 10th
Registration is open for our upcoming Zoom Tuesday program through Event Brite now. The program will provide a deep dive into ICHRA plans – Individual Health Contribution Reimbursement Accounts – with Bill Stuart, MassAHU Vice President and Compliance leader at Benefit Strategies, and NFP Executive Jeff Rich. Join us for a discussion on ICHRA plans and how they can help your clients provide meaningful, affordable health insurance options to their employees.

Upcoming Industry Programs of Interest
Several other programs are coming up quickly this month. NAHU will be broadcasting a postelection program with Janet Trautwein this Thursday, November 5th. We’re wondering what results will be known by then, but we know her insights will be enlightening regardless. If you are not able to listen to the live broadcast on Thursday, be sure to sign into your account at www.nahu.org to access the recording after the event.

MAHP Annual Conference
We’d also like to extend an invitation to attend Massachusetts Association of Health Plans (MAHP) 2020 conference. What is usually a full-day program held in November each year, instead will be presented in 3 virtual programs, starting this Friday, November 6th, with EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Then on November 20th, Dr Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University of Public Health, is the guest speaker, and on December 4th, Avik Roy and John McDonough join Jim Braude to take a look forward to future healthcare policy. The MAHP Conference is always relevant to brokers and their employer clients, and this year is no exception. Visit the MAHP website where you can get more details and register to attend one or all of the programs.

AIM Executive Forum with Governor Charlie Baker
On November 13th, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) will hold their Executive Forum with Governor Charlie Baker. With the recent announcement of a $774 million economic recovery plan and the proposed 2021 budget, it should be an interesting discussion. The legislature will need to approve the final budget, but in the meantime, they are continuing to extend the FY ’19-20 budget on a monthly basis. You can register for the AIM Executive Forum through the AIM website.

Federal Legislative Update
Much hangs in the balance as the Supreme Court debates the severability of the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act, and what happens with the Presidency as well as control of the Senate in this week’s election. Although we may not know the outcome of the election immediately, as noted earlier, NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein will hold an election recap on Thursday, November 5th.

Once the 2021 elected leaders take office, MassAHU will be hosting a Zoom Tuesday program to highlight our state and federal legislative priorities with our legislative counsel Jack Bartley, Sun Life Government Relations Executive, James Slotnick and Marcy Buckner, NAHU SVP of Government Relations. More information will be forthcoming in our next update.

Compliance Update
We’re inching closer to the initial eligibility date for claiming benefits under the MA PFMLA on January 1, 2021. Attorney Rick Szczebak outlines the process for filing claims under MA PFMLA in his October update for MassAHU. He also offers a concise update on the state’s regulations and a list of the approved carriers.

NEW Offering for MA PFML
Through a special arrangement with the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA), MassAHU members can begin offering a private and stand-alone PFML policy to groups of 25 or more employees. To learn more about this option, visit the MA PFML webpage, and sign-up for MAIA’s upcoming webinar: Learn to Sell PFML via MAIA’s Number One Insurance Agency – New Product Offering, on either 11/18 or 11/24!

License Renewals/Continuing Education Update
The state of Massachusetts DOI suspended insurance license renewals during the pandemic in accordance with Governor Baker’s orders last spring. When the suspension was lifted in late spring, the MA DOI issued draft rules that license renewals, including CE requirements, would need to be completed by October 31st. MassAHU and MAIA were instrumental in extending the time for renewing and submitting CE to December 31st out of concern that licensed insurance brokers would not have sufficient time to comply with the earlier deadline. The final regs can be found HERE. Note that if your license renewal date was affected by the pandemic, your next renewal date will still be 3 years from your original 2020 renewal date (i.e., your 2023 birthday).

If you need CE credits, consider taking the Single Payer Healthcare Certification Course through NAHU. NAHU also offers certification courses on several areas of employee benefits, which can lead to earning the professional designation Registered Employee Benefit Consultant (REBC). If you’d like more information on any of NAHU’s professional development programs visit www.nahu.org/professional-development.

Recap on our October Health Plan Virtual Roundtable
Our October Zoom Tuesday program was a success by all accounts, with nine health plan executives participating in our Virtual Roundtable Discussion. Contrary to the format we use for our popular CEO panel at Benefest, we asked each participant a unique question chosen randomly before the event. This allowed the audience to hear about a variety of current topics in a fast-moving and unscripted conversation. We truly appreciate the participation of all our MA health insurance partners.

Topics included emerging trends in primary care, telehealth and behavioral health, the Massachusetts merged market, middle market (50-99), prescription drug costs and carveout plans, Covid-19 impact on claims and trend, Massachusetts budget shortfall, ICHRA and alternate funding plans, transparency and innovation. Thank you to Marie Chalmers, Executive Vice President at Marsh & McLennan and past president of MassAHU, for her role as moderator, engaging everyone in the discussion while being mindful of time. Thank you also to everyone who participated on the panel and whose support of the role of brokers is ever important – Patrick Cahill (HPHC), Scott Meehan (BCBSMA), Eric LaPlaca (Tufts), Jennifer St. Thomas (Allways), Eric Swain (UHC), Scott Ledoux (HNE), Beth Helenius (Fallon), Spence Papke (Aetna), and Jennifer Motta (CIGNA). We look forward to hearing from our health plan partners in future Zoom Tuesday programs leading up to Benefest on May 4, 2021.

Save the Date for our Upcoming Zoom Tuesday Programs
Plan to join us for a look at Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) with industry leaders on Tuesday, December 8th at 10 a.m.

How can we develop business relationships and grow our business in a remote environment? Join us for some fresh ideas and inspiration for the new year on January 5th at 10 a.m.

In closing…
In what is typically a sensory season filled with football games, outdoor hikes, roaring fires and cozy nights, we know that it is also anxiety-filled for many. We hope you take time to enjoy nature and to nurture your spirit at this stressful time. Whatever happens in the election, the Supreme Court deliberations and the course of the pandemic, we wish you strength and safekeeping to meet the challenges ahead.

Take care of yourself and check in on your neighbors. Hope to see you at one of our upcoming programs.

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