Category: Newsroom

SAHU 2022 – 2023 Year in Review

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Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) Delivers Holiday Joy with Successful Completion of donating to the River Oak Center for Children Toy Drive

SACRAMENTO, December 19, 2023 — After weeks of anticipation and community engagement, the Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is pleased to share the success of its collaboration with the River Oak Center for Children for the annual toy drive. The initiative aimed to bring holiday cheer to 100 children of all ages, and thanks to the unwavering support of the community, it exceeded expectations.

The streamlined donation process through the Amazon shopping link proved to be a resounding success, allowing community members to effortlessly contribute and make a meaningful difference in a child’s Christmas morning. SAHU extends its deepest gratitude to everyone who clicked, shopped, and shared in the spirit of giving.

In addition to online contributions, SAHU members took part in a special in-person volunteer opportunity at the ‘Santa Workshop,’ hosted by the River Oak Center for Children on Thursday, December 14th, 2023. This unique event transformed SAHU members into Santa’s elves, as they dedicated their time to wrapping gifts that will create enchanting moments for parents and children on Christmas morning.

“Once again, the Sacramento Community has come together to bring joy to the families who need it the most this holiday season. said Andrew Garnett, Community Services Chair.  The Toy Drive was a huge success! Members of SAHU were able to meet many of the families that will be receiving the toys on behalf their children.  The gratitude these mothers, fathers, and grandparents had as we wrapped up their toys for them was unbelievable. It’s an experience I will never forget.  I am very grateful to be a small part of the kindhearted community that we are.   Thank you for all your support! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at SAHU.”

As SAHU wraps up this year’s toy drive, the organization remains committed to its mission of making a positive impact in the community. The success of this initiative reinforces SAHU’s dedication to serving and uplifting those in need, and the association looks forward to continuing its meaningful contributions in the future.

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com.

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CMS’ 2025 Proposed Final Rule: SAHU Advocates for Industry Response with Compensation & Marketing Changes On the Rise

In response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2025 Proposed Final Rule, the Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is taking a proactive stance to represent the interests of its members and the broader health insurance community.

CMS has introduced a comprehensive proposed final rule, CMS-4205-P, set to bring about substantial changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, effective from the 2025 contracting year starting September 30, 2024. Notably, the proposed rule addresses critical aspects of Medicare marketing and communications policies, particularly impacting agent and broker compensation outlined in Section 1851(j) of the Act.

Key elements of the proposed final rule encompass the elimination of administrative fees and overrides, restrictions on services provided to Medicare agents, impacts on different agency types, changes in marketing reimbursements and Health Risk Assessments (HRA) fees, modifications in commission structures, and operational adjustments for agents and agencies.

SAHU and its board members believe that CMS-4205-P may have certain drawbacks, particularly as this policy would essentially leave agents and brokers unable to directly recover administrative costs. These adjustments impacting FMO/Agency support, training, technology, and related aspects will influence beneficiary options by diminishing the number of agents not only promoting Medicare Advantage but also providing a diverse range of plans. In essence, this regulation is poised to yield outcomes contrary to its intended objectives.

“Field Marketing Organizations (FMOs) are General Agents who provide training, and a multitude of compliance expertise to field agents. Agents struggled to comply with the recent CMS recording requirements, but FMOs were able to quickly provide a scalable solution. Without the general support of FMOs, insurance carriers would need to provide these services, raising their administrative costs and premiums to beneficiaries.” Says, NABIP CEO Jessica Brooks-Woods.

With the CMS-4205-P proposal open for public comment until January 5th, SAHU urges its members and the broader community to unite in advocating for the best interests of our clients and the sustained strength of our profession. We encourage everyone to contribute professional and constructive feedback, and comments can be conveniently submitted through Regulations.gov.

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com. 

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SAHUToyDrive

SAHU Teams Up with River Oak Center for Children to Support Their Annual Christmas Toy Drive

Sacramento, CA – The Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is thrilled to announce its collaboration with the River Oak Center for Children for their much-anticipated annual toy drive. With a goal to bring holiday cheer to 100 children of all ages, SAHU invites the community to join in the festive spirit of giving.

This year, River Oak has streamlined the donation process, making it easier than ever to contribute. Simply click on the Amazon shopping link and choose a gift to make a meaningful difference in a child’s Christmas morning.

For those looking for a hands-on experience, SAHU invites you to join a special in-person volunteer opportunity at the ‘Santa Workshop’ hosted by the River Oak Center for Children. Be part of the magic on Thursday, December 14th, 2023, as we become Santa’s elves, wrapping gifts to help create enchanting moments for parents and children on Christmas morning.

Volunteer sign-ups are available on our SAHU Event Page here.  This is a fantastic chance to donate your time, spread the festive spirit, and assist families in preparing for their Christmas morning.

“We all know that it’s not about what’s under the tree at Christmas, it’s about who’s around it. Join us in coming together to embrace those families who need it the most and spread the magic of Christmas,” says Andrew Garnett, Community Service Chair at SAHU.

How to Get Involved:

Donate Online: https://sahu-ca.com/event/river-oak-center-for-children-holiday-gift-drive-2023/.  You will find a helpful Shopping list and link to shop!

 ‘Santa’s Workshop’ Volunteer Sign-up:  Volunteer days are being held at the River Oak Center on December 14th, with various time slots available to select.  This year, River Oak is looking for volunteers to checkout items, wrap gifts, replenish items, and lend a helping to support this event.  Click this sign-up form to register.

To learn more about this event, visit our SAHU Events Page.

We hope you can join us in the spirit of giving back this season to bless 100 kids with a special gift this Christmas. The SAHU community wishes everyone a joyful and magical holiday season!

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com. 

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SAHU’s 2023 Business & Medicare Expo: A Resounding Success!

The Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) proudly looks back on its 2023 Business & Medicare Expo as an unprecedented success. The AI Technology themed event garnered a remarkable turnout of over 300 registrants, reflecting the growing interest and commitment of professionals in the insurance industry. A highlight of the event was the Medicare Breakout session, which was met with an overflowing audience, emphasizing its significance in today’s healthcare landscape. In line with SAHU’s dedication to professional development, the Expo offered 5 CE courses that provided valuable insights and knowledge enhancement for attendees.  

SAHU also proudly announced the exceptional individuals who will be joining the SAHU board for the 2023-2024 term. This esteemed group of professionals brings their expertise and dedication to further enhance our organization’s mission, ensuring a bright future for SAHU.

The vibrant atmosphere was complemented by the presence of 30+ exhibitors who showcased the latest trends, products, and services in the industry.

Our fantastic Keynote speaker, Ryan Howard, Corporate Executive with AnalytIQ Advisors, left our audience inspired with his insights on empowering insurance sales agents through the strategic utilization of AI tools for enhanced customer engagement and substantial revenue growth.  We also had the privilege of welcoming Tim Kanter, President of California Association of Health Insurance Professionals (CAHIP), who delivered a powerful and informative legislative update, keeping our attendees well-informed on the latest industry developments. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Ryan Howard and Tim Kanter for their invaluable contributions, which enriched the Expo experience for all.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to our sponsors, each of whom played a pivotal role in making the Expo an unparalleled experience!  A big shout out to Brand New Day for ensuring our attendees started their day with a nourishing breakfast, and River City Medical Group for curating an exquisite lunch. The event was energized with coffee breaks sponsored by Word & Brown, while Dignity Health brought everyone together with an enjoyable Happy Hour.  Recognition is also due to California Choice for their badge sponsorship, and Alignment Health Plans for taking on the mantle of Certification Sponsor.

Finally, we extend our profound appreciation to Western Health Advantage for championing this event as our main sponsor. Their unwavering support made it possible for SAHU to elevate the Business & Medicare Expo to new heights.

We look forward to future collaborations and even more successful events!




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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com. 

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) identifies a group of ten Medicare Part D medications slated for negotiation under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has been identified.

Important industry news brought to you by Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed on Thursday, August 31st 2023, that the initial group of ten Medicare Part D medications slated for negotiation under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has been identified.

These drugs have been designated based on the outlined criteria within the IRA. This legislation mandates that CMS prioritize drugs with the highest Medicare expenditure and minimal competition, among other considerations. The resulting roster encompasses medications that are crucial for numerous Medicare recipients in treating various conditions such as cancer, diabetes, blood clotting, heart failure, autoimmune disorders, and chronic kidney disease.

Negotiations regarding pricing will commence this year between CMS and the participating pharmaceutical manufacturers. Finalized prices will be disclosed next autumn by CMS, with implementation set for 2026. In the ensuing years, additional medicines will be included for negotiation.

Projected Benefits for Beneficiaries and Medicare

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approximated that the expenses for the chosen ten drugs totaled $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket payments for Medicare beneficiaries. While the specific savings for individual beneficiaries through the IRA’s negotiation initiative will be contingent on the forthcoming reductions in prices, overall reduced costs are anticipated across the board. It is noteworthy that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that these negotiations could save Medicare a total of $98.5 billion over a ten-year span, subsequently leading to decreased financial burdens for beneficiaries and taxpayers. Importantly, this law will achieve these outcomes while simultaneously enhancing health results and program stability. The CBO underscores that the lowered drug costs will encourage better adherence to prescribed medications, ultimately enhancing beneficiary well-being and diminishing the necessity for more expensive medical care covered by Medicare.

Furthermore, complementary reforms tied to the IRA are either already in effect or will soon be implemented, further enhancing the affordability and accessibility for beneficiaries. Several key measures are already active, such as capping monthly insulin prescription costs at $35, providing no-cost Part D vaccines, and reducing coinsurance for certain Part B drugs. In the upcoming year, an increased number of Medicare beneficiaries will experience relief as the IRA abolishes enrollee expenditures in the Part D catastrophic phase and extends full Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) coverage to individuals with incomes equal to or less than 150% of the poverty threshold. By 2025, the legislation will also impose a limit of $2,000 per year on beneficiary Part D drug expenses and allow beneficiaries to pay these costs in more predictable monthly installments, offering vital financial security.

Previous estimates from HHS indicated that the Part D changes brought about by the IRA would save a minimum of $400 for one out of every three enrollees in 2025. Notably, a considerable number of beneficiaries will experience even more substantial savings: over eight million will witness a $759 reduction, and nearly two million will benefit from a $2,500 decrease, reflecting a 66% reduction relative to their present costs. Once the negotiation program is initiated in 2026, these savings are expected to expand further.

Engaging the Public

This initiative encompasses ten virtual public Listening Sessions set to take place in the upcoming fall, with each session focusing on one of the selected drugs. The agency has stated that this series will “offer an avenue for patients, beneficiaries, caregivers, consumer and patient organizations, and other interested parties to provide input relevant to the drugs chosen for the initial round of negotiations.” Stakeholders are required to pre-register for the opportunity to make live, public statements.

“It’s important for insurance agents to educate their clients about the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act this year more than ever.” Rosamaria Marrujo, past SAHU president and incoming CAHIP president.

Additionally, CMS will accept written statements from September 1 to October 2, 2023. Further details about how to contribute to CMS concerning the negotiation process can be found here
https://www.cms.gov/inflation-reduction-act-and-medicare/medicare-drug-price-negotiation

For More Information:
To access the CMS announcement, click here.

For a comprehensive fact sheet from CMS about the drugs selected for the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program, along with additional details about patient-focused listening sessions, please visit this link.
https://www.cms.gov/files/document/fact-sheet-medicare-selected-drug-negotiation-list-ipay-2026.pdf

For further information about the upcoming listening sessions and the opportunity for written comments, refer to this resource.
https://www.cms.gov/inflation-reduction-act-and-medicare/medicare-drug-price-negotiation-program-patient-focused-listening-sessions

For in-depth insights into the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program, explore further here.
https://www.cms.gov/inflation-reduction-act-and-medicare/medicare-drug-price-negotiation



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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com. 

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Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) Announces 2023-24 Board Members

The Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is proud to announce its esteemed board members for the 2023-24 term, showcasing a diverse and dedicated group of professionals committed to advancing the goals and mission of the organization.

Board Members and their Roles:

Helen Ornellas
President

David Brabender
President-Elect

Rosamaria Marrujo
Past-President

Jacqueline Martinez
Treasurer

Lauren Bayha
Executive Director

Michele Mills
Secretary

Michele Meder
Awards Chair

Tamara Moreau
Carrier Relations

Brad Wright
Legislation Co-Chair

Telly Tasakos
Membership Retention Chair

Adam Aguilar
Professional Development Chair

Cerrina Jensen
Political Action Committee Chair

Andrew Garnett
Community Services Chair

Kyle Frantz
Communications Chair

Antonette Vanasek
Media Relations Chair

Dave Fear Jr.
Legislative Co-Chair

Danny Langarica
Vanguard Chair

Angie Caruso
New Membership Chair

Andy Glenn
Programs Chair

Renée Balcom
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair

Dalia Sutton
Medicare Chair

Our Mission and Vision for the 2023-2024 Term

President Helen Ornellas shares her vision for the year, stating, “Our mission in 2023-2024 is mentorship and leadership.  SAHU is looking for those who would like to make a difference in our chapter, in the industry, and their careers. We have started the Past Presidential Advisory Committee to provide insight, one on one mentorship, and guidance for those who are interested in leadership at the Chapter Level, State Level and National. Or lets us know how we can help you; we have the tools and people! 35 Years strong.”

SAHU Board Nominations

Joining the SAHU board can provide a wide range of benefits for both personal and professional growth. By becoming a board member, you can expand your network and connect with other industry professionals.  Additionally, you can have a direct impact on the strategic direction and decision-making processes of the association. Serving on the board can also enhance your leadership and teamwork skills, as you work collaboratively with other members to achieve common goals.  It’s an opportunity to give back to the community and make a positive impact on the industry, while also gaining valuable experience and building your resume.

Perhaps you or someone with whom you have served has the vision and the passion, both for the association and for the industry as a whole, to help lead SAHU in the coming years.

 To nominate a deserving candidate or even yourself, please visit https://sahu-ca.com/sahu-officers-nomination-form/.  The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2024.

Let us work together to build a stronger, more vibrant SAHU community.

2023-2024 SAHU Board Members Induction

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com. 

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SAHU Newsletter | April 2023

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SAHU Newsletter | March 2023

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SAHU Newsletter | February 2023

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