Greetings of the Season!
I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on 2019 and to share our vision for 2020 and beyond.
Organizationally, we’ve had several changes in the past year. We are grateful for Chris Powers’ leadership of MassAHU as he ended his term as president in July, and I am honored and energized to serve as your president going forward. We also bid Kate Bardsley a happy retirement in July and were fortunate to have Julie Jennings, a long-time board member and retired employee benefits consultant, step up to serve as our Executive Director.
Strengthening our voice and advocacy efforts, we hired John (Jack) Bartley of Beacon Hill Consulting Group to represent MassAHU on legislative and regulatory issues in the state. Over the past several months, we’ve worked closely with Jack and his team reviewing bills, attending hearings, and strategizing our position on key issues impacting our membership, the employer-based market, and healthcare in general.
With the dedicated leadership of our entire board, members of our legislative committee, and the guidance of our lobbyist, we achieved the following this year:
- Co-sponsored, along with AIM, MAHP, NFIB, and RAM, a report detailing persistent key healthcare cost drivers based on new and updated data. MassAHU continues to work on related issues independently and in collaboration with these organizations.
- Hosted another successful Benefest, our 11th annual conference, highlighted by the health plan CEO panel and a special afternoon session on the new MA Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFMLA) law.
- Supported federal legislation addressing the issue of “surprise billing,” and participated in discussions with Congressman Neal’s office on recommended solutions.
- Met with our council of 12 leading ancillary insurers to discuss implementation of Massachusetts’ new PFMLA law and the impact on our clients and the disability insurance market.
- Tracked the governor’s Omnibus Health Care Bill released this fall, and met with industry leaders to gauge its importance to our membership.
- Nominated five MassAHU members to participate on the Governor’s Merged Market Council.
- Signed a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging relief from the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and the Cadillac tax.
We expect to carry over these legislative efforts into 2020 as the House and Senate generate their bills, and committees then drive final compromise. In the next several days, you will be hearing more from our lobbyist and our legislative committee leaders on our plans for early 2020.
2020 and Beyond
For 2020 and 2021, MassAHU will focus on three goals in serving you, our members:
- Legislative Advocacy. At the state level, we will continue to be heard on Beacon Hill and communicate with our members on movements in areas that impact them. Via our national organization, NAHU, we will share federal updates and learnings.
- Educating Our Members. In addition to sharing legislative developments, MassAHU has access to numerous educational resources and opportunities to educate and train. We will be rolling these out more regularly in 2020.
- Growing Partnerships. The healthcare and employee benefits industries are more complex than ever. We will be working with more industry groups, carriers, and vendors who support our mission and can strengthen our messaging.
We greatly appreciate your support and continued membership in MassAHU, and we’d love to hear from you. If there is any suggestion or idea you’d like to share, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your interest and participation in whatever way you can give to your professional association.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!
Matthew F. Shadrick