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2016 Year in Review - Chapter Benefits - Krista Davis, President
It's hard to believe that we have reached the halfway point of my term as MAHU President! Seems like the perfect time to take a quick peek into the rear-view mirror as well as to let you know what can be seen out the front window.
At the MAHU Strategic Planning Meeting last August, your board set forth a number of goals and I'm pleased to let you know that we have and are working hard to achieve them.
Membership Growth & Retention - Our chairs, Michelle Howard & Rob Roney have set an aggressive target of growing the organization by 10% and retaining 90% of our members. While our state chapter still stands at over 800 members strong (a record high) and even with Metro Detroit as the largest chapter in the country, we are finding that many individuals have left our industry, making the retention number a hard one to achieve, but we are close. The need for new members continues. There's a new sheriff in D.C and our voice still needs to be heard as the future of our industry continues to be reshaped. We can get that done with our membership. Invite an industry colleague to join our ranks, help your local board with their recruitment efforts and get more involved yourself. Membership is our organization's greatest asset and the organization gives so much to our members.
Legislative Advocacy -The Legislative Team, led by Cathy Cooper & our KRKM lobbyist Ryan Burtka, set goals to be involved in and help shape a variety of legislative bills, hold a state-wide Leg Day and provide at least one scholarship to Cap Con for a member-at-large. Here's a rundown of what is happening in this area.
One of the initiatives the team embarked upon was to pass a Continuing Education Rollover bill - allowing for credits in excess of the required number to rollover into the next reporting period. We had success with support in the House, however, the legislative session came to an end prior to passing. We will see this introduced again in 2017!
This past year the Michigan legislature passed a package of bills to modernize our state's insurance code. At the same time, MAHU members were reporting a discrepancy with state law and federal rules on how to determine a "full time employee" for the small group market. Depending on the definition used, a small employer may have been above or below the 50-employee threshold, which drastically changes the benefit structure under the Affordable Care Act. Likewise, an agent would calculate significantly different premiums between exchange and non-exchange products. MAHU successfully lobbied for an amendment to clarify one definition for "full time employee" that created an equal playing field and removed the confusion in the small group market.
The Department of Insurance and Financial Services interpreted a rule this past spring that mandated insurance carriers not to release rates or associated marketing material until November 1st for the individual and small group markets. Some carriers in Michigan were not compliant and released materials and rates during the traditional August/September time frame. MAHU worked with stakeholders including the insurance carriers, DIFS and key legislators to change the interpretation of the rule so that rates and materials were released on October 3rd. Not only does this put all carriers on an equal footing but allows agents the time needed to find the best plans for their clients. MAHU will continue working with DIFS to ensure that there is an appropriate date for releasing rates and marketing materials that is fair to insurance carriers, agents and most importantly, the clients we serve.
The Legislative Team was able to award not one, but two scholarships to NAHU's Capitol Conference in February! We are pleased that Tim Bruce, NMAHU and Mark Merucci, MDAHU will attend for the very first time! Preparations continue for this upcoming trip.
Lastly, watch for additional details on the upcoming MAHU Leg Day which is combined with a Professional Development Day and will be March 7 & 8 at the Boji Tower in Lansing.
HUPAC -We started the year with 11.8% of MAHU members contributing to HUPAC and set a goal of having 18% contribute. We are currently at 17.6%! Congratulations to those who are working so hard to make this a reality. Our fearless leader, Cathy Cooper is on the NAHU HUPAC board, leads the charge for Region 3 in addition to being our state chair. On the Region 3 call last week, the efforts of Candius Stearns from MDAHU and Kyle Miller from WMAHU were also recognized. I am so proud of this team. With the new Trump administration come promises of big changes (again) to our industry. Our collective voice matters & needs to be heard. You can make a difference by contributing to HUPAC. Consider starting or increasing your participation. Every dollar matters.
Professional Development - MAHU's goals include hosting a statewide Professional Development Day, which is scheduled for March 7 at The Marriott Hotel in East Lansing. Chair, Suzy Alberts and Vice-Chair, Christine King, have a great day lined up for you, filled with CE credit opportunities as well as a keynote speaker addressing "Millennials in the Workforce". There are sponsorship opportunities available at HERE. This year the Legislative & Professional Development teams have joined forces to bring you a fabulous two-day program on March 7 & 8. Round up as many members from your chapter as possible & head over to Lansing - you won't be disappointed!
Media - In early December, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by WOOD TV 8 in Grand Rapids. The story had to do with a consumer who was receiving provider bills for services they thought were going to be covered by their insurance plan as preventive care. Despite my best efforts, MAHU was not acknowledged directly, however, the message of working with an independent insurance agent, utilizing carrier tools & information and becoming an educated consumer did come through.
Awards - Val Cramer leads the statewide efforts here and together with the local chairs, they are preparing their submission for a variety of awards (Chapter Certification, Landmark, Pacesetter, Presidential Citation, Website, etc.) which will be awarded in June at the National Convention in Orlando. At last count, it appears that all of Michigan's chapters will be at least Silver Certified, which will enable Michigan to be a Blue Ribbon State. At last year's convention in Albuquerque, Michelle Howard received the Distinguished Service Award, MAHU won the Landmark Award, MDAHU won the Pacesetter Award, Steve Selinsky won the Presidential Citation Award and WMAHU won the Website Award. It's so very rewarding to see the hard work done here in Michigan recognized on the national platform.
I hope you will become even more involved in MAHU this year - take advantage of the learning and legislative opportunities coming in March. Participate in HUPAC - your voice matters! Encourage industry peers to join our ranks. The Association does so much for our industry - hope you will participate. Many hands make the work lighter! All the best for a successful 2017!
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