Category: Press Release

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.

###

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. 

Read More
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!

###

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. 

Read More

SAHU and River Oak Center for Children Partner Once Again to feed 25 families this Thanksgiving!

Sacramento, CA – River Oak, in partnership with the Sacramento Health Underwriters Association (SAHU), is thrilled to announce the launch of its annual Turkey Drive, aimed at providing Thanksgiving meals for 25 local families in need.  With the holiday season approaching, River Oak and SAHU are dedicated to giving back to as many families in the community as possible, ensuring that everyone can partake in the joy of Thanksgiving festivities.

This year, River Oak has streamlined the donation process, making it easier for everyone to contribute to this meaningful cause. By clicking the DONATE button on our website, you can support our mission and help us reach our goal of providing nutritious and delicious Thanksgiving meals for 25 deserving families.

Donations will be accepted through Friday, November 17th, 2023, allowing ample time for community members and organizations to participate and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate during the holiday season.

We cordially invite you to join us on November 20th from 10:00 AM to 10:15 AM at 5445 Laurel Hills Dr., Sacramento, CA 95841, for a special photo opportunity as we celebrate and share in the success of our Turkey Drive initiative. RSVP now to secure your spot for this heartwarming event and witness the impact of your generosity firsthand.

Andrew Garnett, SAHU’s Community Services Chair, expressed his optimism for the project, stating, “When we extend a helping hand, we create a community of giving.” Let’s come together and build a stronger, more compassionate community by ensuring that every family possible can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast this year. For further information and to RSVP, please visit our website at https://sahu-ca.com/event/2023-river-oak-center-for-childrens-turkey-dinner-drive/.



###

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. 

Read More

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!




###

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. 

Read More

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



###

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. 

Read More

SB 770- Bill to Finance a State-run Healthcare System Advances to Assembly Appropriations Committee

Download the PDF Version

SACRAMENTO, CA – Jun 30th 2023 – The Sacramento Association for Health Underwriters (SAHU) would like to extend its gratitude to all its dedicated members who actively participated in NABIP’s Operation Shout to oppose SB 770, a bill aimed at financing a state-run health care system in California.

Despite the tremendous efforts and numerous communications from CAHIP members, SB 770, which seeks to advance Single Payer Health Care system in California, has successfully passed the Assembly Health Committee and is now progressing to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

If enacted, legislation would establish a workgroup with the goal of petitioning the federal government to redirect significant funding, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, from Medicare and Medi-Cal.  The intention behind this redirection would be to support the implementation of a state-run health care system, which has yet to undergo comprehensive testing, including an assessment of its potential costliness.

SAHU kindly urges all its members and non-members to take the time to review the details of SB 770. You can find the fully written Bill here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/home.xhtml

We encourage you to talk to your Assemblymember about the potential implications it may have.  If you would like to join SAHU in expressing opposition, we invite you to visit the following link https://nabip.quorum.us/campaign/48542 and participate in Operation Shout. Your voice holds significance, and your participation can potentially contribute to the outcome of this bill.

If you are not a member of SAHU, click here- https://sahu-ca.com/benefits to learn more about our great organization and how you can join.

If you are interested in supporting our PAC contribution, click here: https://www.efundraisingconnections.com/c/CAHUPAC/

In the coming weeks, SAHU will diligently provide updates on the progress of SB 770 in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We assure you that we will keep you informed of any developments as soon as the information becomes available, with the latest update expected no later than September 1, 2023.

###

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. 

Read More

SAHU’s summary of the 2023 CAHIP Capitol Summit

SACRAMENTO, CA- May 8-10th 2023 – Members of SAHU (Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters) attended the annual Capitol Summit held by California Agents & Health Insurance Professionals (CAHIP), reporting back a warning against the implementation of a state-run health care system.  

SAHU strongly opposes – SB 770: a proposed legislation that would create a costly and untested state-run health care system.  SAHU emphasizes that implementing SB 770 would eliminate existing Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, leaving millions of Californians without essential health care coverage.   SAHU warns that SB 770 does not introduce new providers or facilities, potentially leading to longer wait times for procedures, reduced access to specialists, and a loss of doctors to other states. The association urges the Legislature to pursue constructive and viable solutions to enhance access to affordable health care.

SB 770 is the first step towards a single-payer health care system, which not only eliminates Medicare and Medi-Cal but also prohibits private health coverage, including employer-sponsored plans. The projected cost of over $500 billion per year would require significant tax increases on individuals, employers, and small businesses.

CAHIP states in its own talking points of this year’s Summit, that there has been “progress made in expanding access to affordable health coverage in California since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Californians are satisfied with their health care and prefer to build upon this progress, preserving their ability to choose private coverage for their families.” 

To read more about CAHIP’s Capitol Summit talking points, visit their website- https://www.cahu.org/cahip-capitol-summit-talking-points.

SAHU Supports AB 716: Protecting Californians from Costly Surprise Billing for Ambulance Services.  SAHU stands behind AB 716, a vital legislative measure aimed at safeguarding injured Californians from burdensome balance bills and resolving billing disputes for emergency ground ambulance services beyond their control. 

By passing AB 716, Californians will be protected from excessive out-of-pocket expenses and relieved from the complexities of billing disputes between health plans and ground ambulance service providers. This legislation is crucial in addressing the common practice of surprise billing, or “balance billing,” which often leaves injured individuals in the midst of billing disputes for essential services.

ON WATCHSAHU is also closely monitoring AB 1690, a “spot bill” lacking substance and a funding source for a proposed government monopoly on health care.  SAHU advocates for market stabilization strategies and supports AB 716, which aims to protect Californians from expensive balance billing for emergency services.

Dave Fear Jr., SAHU Legislative chair says this, “Addressing our elected legislators, whether in DC or Sacramento, is such an important part of our governmental system. Being able to meet face to face and let them know who we are, what we do and how we work to make things better is a fundamental part of citizenship in this country!”  SAHU maintains a steadfast commitment to actively engage and participate in relevant legislative proceedings and keeping the public informed with accurate information. 

If you are interested in learning more about current health insurance industry news and legislative updates, please visit our website, https://sahu-ca.com.

###

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. 

Read More

SAHU’s Annual Crab Feed 2023 Draws Crowds and Raises Funds for American Cancer Society

Sacramento, CA – On March 31st, 2023, the Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) hosted its Annual Crab Feed, a highly anticipated event that drew in a crowd of 380 attendees, all gathered to enjoy 1,000 lbs. of crab, 120 lbs. of shrimp, and a variety of delectable desserts.

SAHU’s Annual Crab Feed was a tremendous success, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the organizers and the generous support of the attendees. The event was held to support a worthy cause, the American Cancer Society, and the attendees’ contributions raised an astounding $20,000 to aid in cancer research and support services.

The evening was filled with exciting activities, including a silent auction, where 68 auction items were sold, and 10 items were generously donated. The event’s attendees also had a sweet tooth, as 23 desserts were donated and sold at the event.

“{insert quote},” said [Name], President of SAHU. “We are incredibly grateful for the support and contributions from our attendees, which enabled us to raise $20,000 for the American Cancer Society. It’s truly heartwarming to see how our community comes together to support a worthy cause, and we can’t thank our attendees enough.”

SAHU’s Annual Crab Feed is a significant event for the community, bringing together members of the Sacramento community to support a worthy cause while enjoying a delicious meal and engaging in fun activities. SAHU is committed to continuing its efforts to support the community and make a positive impact.

For more information on SAHU and its efforts, please visit their website at sahu-ca.com.

###

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.

Read More

Ellevate Women’s Leadership Summit 2023

WHO:  Ellevate Foundation

WHAT:   2-day Women’s Leadership Summit providing tools and resources to grow personally and professionally

WHEN:  March 13th – 15th
 
WHERE:  JW Marriot Resort & Spa – Las Vegas, NV

WHY: The Leadership Summit provides an opportunity for both current and aspiring female leaders in business to advance their career, personal growth, and increase impact and support in their teams as well as their industry.

Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is honored to invite you to this Leadership Summit and proud to support our very own Cerrina Jensen, Ellevate Co-Founder and PAC chair who states, “Given that only 23% of executive leaders in our industry are women, but we make up 67% of entry level staff, Ellevate Foundation believes this annual leadership summit is a timely and critical opportunity to help bridge the gap and fast track both current and aspiring female leaders as their careers unfold.”  
 
To find out more information on the guest speakers, workshops, registration and more, please visit their website- https://www.ellevatefoundation.org

You may also contact them directly by email hello@ellevatefoundation.org.
 
You may also visit the SAHU website https://sahu-ca.com/event/ellevate-womens-leadership-summit-2023/
 
 
 
 
 
###
 
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

Read More
CrabFEed_PR

SAHU 23rd Annual Crab Feed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 1, 2023

The Sacramento Association of Health Underwriters (SAHU) is thrilled to announce our 23rd Annual Crab Feed event, open to both members and non-members. This year’s “Circus!” theme promises to be a night full of excitement and entertainment.

Everyone is invited to join us for an unforgettable evening with delicious crab and great company. You will have an opportunity to bid in our silent auction featuring a variety of exclusive prizes.   SAHU members and non-members alike are welcome to donate silent auction items such as golf packages, vacation rentals, ski packages, sports tickets, concert tickets, wine tasting tours, and more!  Rosamaria Marrujo, President of SAHU calls this one of the biggest networking events of the year!

SAHU offers the opportunity to purchase tables for 10 to enjoy the festivities with a group of friends or colleagues. Advance drink ticket sales are also available so you can enjoy a variety of beverages throughout the night.  Visit us here and get your tickets purchased- https://sahu-ca.com/event/sahu-crab-feed-2023/.

SAHU Crab Feed 2023 Sponsorship is available, if you’d like to learn more on how you can support this annual event please visit https://sahu-ca.com/product/sahu-crab-feed-2023-sponsorship/.

As with every year, part of the proceeds from the Crab Feed will benefit local charitable organizations across the Sacramento region.

###

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.

Read More
#thegov_search_65710a8a3e46f:hover { color: rgba(5,128,114,1) !important; }#thegov_button_65710a8a3ee4d { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a3ee4d:hover { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a3ee4d { border-color: rgba(5,128,114,1); background-color: rgba(5,128,114,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a3ee4d:hover { border-color: rgba(5,76,112,1); background-color: rgba(5,76,112,1); }#thegov_woo_65710a8a446b4:hover { color: rgba(5,76,112,1) !important; }#thegov_search_65710a8a44aa7:hover { color: rgba(5,128,114,1) !important; }#thegov_button_65710a8a45485 { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a45485:hover { color: rgba(255,255,255,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a45485 { border-color: rgba(5,128,114,1); background-color: rgba(5,128,114,1); }#thegov_button_65710a8a45485:hover { border-color: rgba(5,76,128,1); background-color: rgba(5,76,128,1); }