Industry News

Capitol Hill News: Impact my Business?

Episode Summary

The NAHU Capitol Conference provides an inside look at the key issues impacting health insurance agents and brokers. This year's conference offered encouraging insights into the bipartisan cooperation happening in Washington DC.

Contrary to popular belief, there is significant agreement between Republicans and Democrats on healthcare issues. One area of alignment is preserving the employer tax exclusion for health benefits. This exclusion allows employers to provide health coverage without the premiums counting as taxable income. Losing this would destabilize employer-sponsored plans, impacting over 175 million Americans. Bipartisan legislation is in the works to maintain this critical policy.

Fixing Medicare's observation status policy is another priority with bipartisan support. Observation status occurs when someone stays in the hospital for over 24 hours but is not formally admitted. This prevents the stay from counting towards Medicare's 3-day hospital requirement for nursing home coverage. The resulting gaps in care and unexpected costs impact thousands of beneficiaries annually. Momentum is building for a permanent legislative solution to end observation status.

The Affordable Care Act subsidies expanded under the American Rescue Plan are likely to be extended beyond 2022. These subsidies have enabled millions to gain affordable coverage through ACA Marketplaces. Letting the expansion expire would mean premium increases and dropped coverage for many vulnerable individuals. There is bipartisan agreement on the need to maintain enrollment levels by continuing the subsidies.

Additionally, momentum is growing to eliminate the ACA's family glitch. This prevents dependents from accessing subsidies if the employee has affordable employer-sponsored insurance. Fixing this loophole could expand access to over 5 million currently uninsured Americans. The Biden administration supports closing the family glitch to drive increased ACA enrollment.

On the regulatory side, CMS has a strong focus on promoting preventive care and patient engagement. The goal is to drive better health outcomes by getting individuals and families more involved in care decisions. CMS is also working to expand Medicare plan access through broker resources like Help on Demand that provide free consumer leads.

The bipartisan cooperation achieving real progress gives me hope we'll see meaningful healthcare improvements in the coming months. Critical issues like lowering costs, expanding access, and improving care coordination are areas where common ground exists. The NAHU Capitol Conference provided an inside look at the promising political dynamics that can lead to better insurance options for millions of Americans.


(0:00:03) - Mike Smith talks about the NAHU Capitol conference in Washington, DC
(0:00:28) - NAHU Capital Conference highlights true bipartisan support in Washington, D.C
(0:01:03) - Eliminating employer tax exclusion would destabilize employer-sponsored health market
(0:05:07) - The Telehealth Expansion Act would allow virtual care under high-deductible health plans
(0:06:24) - Maintaining current employer affordability calculation method under ACA under fire
(0:09:38) - Another thing I've heard about is the observation status proposal by Representative Ron Estes
(0:12:28) - What happens if subsidized premiums for those under 65s expire at the end of this year
(0:14:45) - Short-term major medical could be reduced back to 90 days under the Trump administration
(0:16:38) - The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is focused on health equity
(0:19:06) - 92% of all ACA members are subsidized. Congress needs to pass premium tax credits
(0:23:09) - Nahu is advocating for you, the independent agent
(0:24:23) - We empower insurance agents to sell more, earn more, and stay independent

Related Episodes: