Industry News

Medicare Legislative Updates

Episode Summary

This podcast episode provides a timely update on Medicare legislation and regulation from the perspective of John Green, VP of Congressional Affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).

NAHU is the leading advocacy organization representing Medicare agents and brokers in Washington DC. For over 20 years, they have lobbied Congress and worked closely with key committees overseeing Medicare to advocate for legislative and regulatory changes that benefit agents and the clients they serve.

Some background on NAHU - their CEO, Janet Trautwein, has been a tireless advocate for Medicare agents and beneficiaries over her tenure. John shared how when he interviewed for his role 20 years ago, Janet emphasized that Medicare would be a primary focus and something he must fully understand to be successful. This exemplifies NAHU's commitment to protecting Medicare agents and beneficiaries through advocacy.

In the interview, John outlines several Medicare legislative priorities NAHU is currently working on:

- Making COBRA Coverage Creditable for Medicare - This is critical to avoid penalties for retirees transitioning from employer-group health plans to Medicare. Often, early retirees remain covered by a spouse's employer plan not realizing it could trigger late enrollment penalties when they eventually enroll in Medicare. The proposed legislation would make COBRA coverage creditable to prevent this.

- Addressing Observation Status - The longstanding 3-day inpatient hospital stay required for Medicare to cover skilled nursing care has led to hospitals designating patients as "observation status" to avoid this cost. While not yet solved, the requirement was waived during COVID-19, signaling some progress.

- Allowing HSA Contributions for Medicare Enrollees - Individuals enrolled in any part of Medicare are prohibited from contributing to Health Savings Accounts, which is age discrimination. NAHU is drafting legislation to eliminate this restriction for Medicare beneficiaries still attached to the workforce.

- Fixing the Medicare Plan Finder - After a rocky launch of the redesigned Medicare Plan Finder tool last year, NAHU provided extensive feedback to CMS resulting in many improvements. Their advocacy prevented a potential disaster during AEP.

In addition to these legislative priorities, NAHU provides critical insights from agents in the field through their Medicare Advisory Group and new FMO Council. These groups identify issues and help shape NAHU's positions.

NAHU also hosts Medicare Summits across the country, offering education, CE credits, and networking for agents. And they recently introduced their own Medicare certification exam as an alternative to the current CMS/AHIP credentialing.

In summary, NAHU plays an invaluable role in advocating for Medicare agents and beneficiaries through their lobbying efforts and shaping of legislation and regulation. This podcast interview provided helpful insights into their current focus areas and how they work to enact positive change for agents and their clients.


(0:00:03) - Chris and I were super busy with the Medicare conference
(0:00:51) - Nahu is the only agent organization that deals in the Medicare space
(0:04:10) - Nahoo is working on several legislative initiatives related to Medicare
(0:06:12) - Nahu helped restore the Older Americans' Protection Act
(0:07:12) - Nahu working with a coalition to address observation status in Hawaii
(0:09:04) - Nahu working with CMS on changes to the Medicare plan finder
(0:13:10) - Nahu is doing advocacy work on behalf of independent agents
(0:17:26) - Nahu has been hosting Medicare summits all across the United States
(0:19:11) - Nahu has introduced a new Medicare certification program
(0:21:38) - All right, guys, thank you so much for listening to this podcast

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