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Healthcare Happy Hour

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The NAHU Healthcare Happy Hour podcast is released weekly on Friday afternoons by the National Association of Health Underwriters, and includes a recap of the week’s top issues in healthcare and health insurance politics and policy.
124 Episodes
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We hope all those who attended NAHU’s 90th Annual Convention, the first-ever Virtual Convention, enjoyed themselves! Did you get a chance to tune in to the Legislative Town Hall? You can still watch it at the main Convention website through the link you used to tune in live. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, Legislative Council Chair Scott Wham and NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner review some of the questions we received during the Town Hall that we did not get to.
We hope all those who attended our first-ever virtual Annual Convention thoroughly enjoyed it. On this week’s special edition of the Healthcare Happy Hour, we are spotlighting one of Annual Convention’s Ruby Sponsors, MassMutual. Jason Rathbone and Mike Hirshberg, Managing Directors of Benefits at MassMutual, join us to discuss some of the many benefits that MassMutual has to offer.
We hope all NAHU members listening this week are registered to attend NAHU’s 90th Annual Convention this Sunday, the first-ever Virtual Convention. We have some great materials in store for you, so be sure to tune in to the General Session on Sunday, which includes the Legislative Town Hall at 3:30 Eastern Time, as well as the Knowledge Channels throughout the day on Monday.
Did you know that NAHU has created a Mental Health Task Force? Along with other legislative working groups such as the Medicare Advisory Group and the Prescription Drugs Task Force, the Mental Health Task Force will explore legislative and regulatory developments as they relate to mental health parity in the market. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, DeDe Kennedy, the chair of this new task force, joins us to discuss the goals and purpose of this group. If you are interested in joining the Mental Health Task Force please send a statement of interest to legislative@nahu.org.
While we await further regulatory guidance from the Administration as well as another bipartisan coronavirus package from Congress, this week’s Healthcare Happy Hour is spotlighting the NAHU Employer-Based Plan Working Group’s Think Tank, which first debuted at a breakout session during this year’s Capitol Conference. Gary Cupo, chair of the Employer Working Group’s Balance Billing Subcommittee and winner of the Think Tank contest at Cap Con, joins us to discuss the Think Tank and his winning pitch. If you would like to offer any ideas, thoughts or suggestions to bring the Think Tank to the next level, please email legislative@nahu.org.
As Congress continues deliberation on what should be included in the next large bipartisan coronavirus response package, we’re looking at smaller bills, including one that deals with Flexible Spending Accounts, extension and changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, and a renewed fight from the White House to ban surprise billing. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner John Greene and Chris Hartmann discuss these developments.
The IRS and DOL have been releasing guidance throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including recent emergency regulation regarding the COBRA-election period during the dates of the COVID-19 national emergency. NAHU submitted a letter to the IRS requesting further clarification on this recent regulation along with several other provisions where we felt additional information was needed. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, COO & Compliance Officer at Kirby Employee Benefits and NAHU Compliance Corner member Carol Taylor joins NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner to discuss our letter in detail.
House Democrats passed the HEROES Act on May 15, and now negotiations begin on bipartisan legislation in the Senate. The Healthcare Happy Hour is taking this week off in light of the long Memorial Day weekend, but make sure you understand what was included in the $3 trillion package that passed the House last week. Listen to NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner, John Greene and Chris Hartmann discuss this latest legislation and regulation.
Earlier this week, House Democrats unveiled their proposed next phase in the federal coronavirus response: the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act. At the same time, the IRS released new guidance that addresses some of the Section-125, FSA and HSA requests that NAHU made in our list of suggestions to the Administration last month. On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner, John Greene and Chris Hartmann discuss this latest legislation and regulation.
Last week, NAHU had the opportunity to preview and comment on the upcoming edition of the Medicare and You Handbook. The handbook includes a summary of Medicare benefits, rights and protections, lists of available health and drug plans, and more. In addition, CMS announced this week that the Special Enrollment Period in the case of major disasters also applies to COVID-19. Mike Smith, chair of both the NAHU FMO Council and Medicare Advisory Group, joins John Greene on this week’s episode to discuss our comments on the Medicare and You handbook as well as the new SEP development.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday demanding Congress keep its promise to pay insurers $12 billion in unpaid ACA funds. The 8-1 decision means that Congress must provide the funds it had promised through the risk-corridor program in order to insure consumers on the exchanges who hadn’t been previously insured or had been “uninsurable.” On this week’s episode NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner reviews the ruling and its implications.
Just yesterday, Congress passed a $484 billion bill to provide additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, among other things. The Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act includes $380 billion for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner, John Greene and Chris Hartmann review the new law and what we may expect next.
On this week’s episode, we are taking a break from COVID-19 discussion to focus on a comment letter NAHU submitted to CMS in regard to the Contract Year 2021 and 2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule. The proposed rule deals with a host of Medicare Advantage and Part D issues, including the addition of ESRD beneficiaries, changes to maximum out-of-pocket costs, transparency tools and more. NAHU's John Greene is joined by special guest Craig Ritter, owner of Ritter Insurance Marketing and member of our Medicare FMO Council, to discuss our comments in detail.
On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner reviews the list of recommendations to the Administration that NAHU submitted on Tuesday with the assistance of NAHU’s Compliance Corner Committee. In our suggestions to DOL, IRS, HHS and CMS, we emphasized the importance of clarifying definitions used in regulation and legislation, extensions on form filings and open enrollment periods, flexibility for premium payments by employers and employees, and more.
Late last week, Congress passed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at resuscitating the economy. One major portion of the CARES Act made $350 billion in paycheck protection loans available to small businesses, establishing the paycheck protection program, or PPP. On this week’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner is joined by Compliance Corner Committee member Annette Bechtold, who serves as senior vice president of regulatory affairs and reform initiatives at OneDigital, to dive into how the PPP works and how you and your clients can utilize it.
Last week, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, phase two in the federal government’s response to COVID-19. After a week of intense negotiations, Democrats and Republicans finally reached a deal on the next phase, a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at resuscitating the economy: the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, also referred to as the CARES Act. On this week’s episode, NAHU’s John Greene and Chris Hartmann discuss what’s in this bill and the politics behind putting it all together.
Over the last few weeks, COVID-19 has taken over our everyday lives and has undoubtedly caused, and will continue to cause, substantial problems for health insurance brokers and their clients. NAHU is following all federal developments related to COVID-19 closely, and we are keeping all of our members up-to-date on everything happening here in Washington and around the country. This week, Marcy M. Buckner is joined by Compliance Corner member and CEO of MZQ Consulting Jennifer Berman, to discuss the compliance issues arising from this situation and what agents and brokers need to know to assist their clients during this time.
Rules, Rules, Rules!

Rules, Rules, Rules!

2020-03-13--:--

NAHU submitted three comment letters to the Trump Administration last week in regard to several proposed rules: the 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters, the Draft Letter to Issuers and the proposed rule that would allow importation of certain prescription drugs from Canada. In addition, HHS and CMS released finalized rules aimed at giving patients greater access to their health data. On this week’s episode, NAHU’s Marcy M. Buckner explains these proposals and our comments, as well as what the finalized ONC rule means for consumers and carriers.
NAHU hosted our 30th annual Capitol Conference here in Washington DC, where agents and brokers from every part of the country came together to make a difference in the health reform debate. We hope all those who attended had an incredible time, and we hope to see you again at the 31st Cap Con! On today’s episode of the Healthcare Happy Hour, NAHU's Marcy M. Buckner and Legislative Council Vice Chair Scott Wham review the conference, from the engaging keynote speakers to our vital legislative priorities.
Leading up to Capitol Conference, we are reviewing each of our legislative priorities in detail. NAHU is the only trade organization representing professional agents and brokers who work with Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare products. In our final podcast before Cap Con, John Greene reviews the Medicare-specific issues we are advocating for, including observation status, COBRA as credible coverage, and allowing those over age 65 that are still working to contribute to their HSAs. We also go into detail about what Medicare-related speakers and breakout sessions await Capitol Conference attendees.
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