U.S. House Passes Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform
by Kasey Buckner, FWAHU Legislation Chair
On March 21, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with the most sweeping and broad changes our industry will ever see. Most of you reading this article have kept up with some of the rhetoric and the debate that has ensued over the last year. Two things are certain in this outcome: our industry will be a different industry than it has been; and, there WILL be room for insurance professionals in it.
Most of the changes in this bill will not take place until 2014. Until then it falls to many government agencies and state governments to weed through the comprehensive package and formulate the laws and procedures that will affect the insurance industry. There will be new ways of gathering information for clients, new methods for determining rates, new laws around which we will have to navigate proposals, and new levels of compliance that we must meet. It will be like starting a new career in some respects. But there can, and will still, be a career for us.
Your leadership at N.A.H.U. has worked tirelessly over the last many years, as this debate gathered steam, to ensure that there is a role for the insurance agent. Many early proposals did away with our profession completely. Several versions offered little hope for a lucrative career. When it came down to the last two versions, one was more pro-agent than the other. We are fortunate that the former rose to the top of the political drama.
Our industry, and indeed our country, has changed this day. The details of those changes will slowly come to light over the next few years. But we have little need to fear or scurry away from our profession. In that, I have one promise for your future. And it’s a promise you need to heed and hold. I promise to you that your future in this industry will be there, if you want to be there with it.
That may not sound like a great promise, but it’s true. The very fabric of insurance will be changed by this bill, BUT there will always be something in it to sell. The ways in which we conduct business will change, BUT there will be business to get. The regulations we will face will be more numerous, BUT this might serve to weed out the chaff. And we members of the National Association of Health Underwriters are certainly the cream of the crop. Your voluntary membership in this organization proves that. Only those who care about our industry make the sacrifices to volunteer as we do. And only those who have that servant heart will rise to the top, even amidst the changes we face. I feel certain of that, and you should too.
There is much left to do as the regulations get written. Many challenges will be faced, many things will change. We will keep you up to date as those changes come. But rest assured that YOU will have a place in this new world IF you want it. YOU will be able to succeed IF you apply yourself to it. And we all will be able to continue to serve our clients to offer them the best of what we know, have, and can offer. For that is what good people, and good agents do.