One of the benefits of the collaborative partnership between IIANC and NCAHU is the presence at the North Carolina legislature the organization gets in the form of Joe Stewart, who serves as a state lobbyist for both groups.
This is helpful for three key reasons:
First, it gives NCAHU eyes and ears within the NC General Assembly, monitoring introduced legislation for any impacts on health insurance agents. As bills are introduced and discussed and debated in committee, Joe is ever-watchful for any issues that arise that impact agents - and, can coordinate with NCAHU’s General Assembly Action Committee (GAAC) to take appropriate action as is needed.
This was especially helpful during this legislative session, as topics within the health care realm such as Medicaid expansion, Certificate of Need (CON) repeal, and changes to the State Health Plan were in play.
Second, it provides NCAHU the opportunity to participate with carriers and other insurance organizations in coalitions in support of or opposition to legislation as may be needed. Joe joins in on the weekly meetings to discuss all relevant legislation being considered by the legislature with all other insurance company and related trade association lobbyists. Based on what’s needed to generate support or opposition, Joe joins in on office visits with legislators or making presentations to committees as needed.
Third, it makes possible NCAHU advocating for specific positions within the legislation. For example, when key legislators called together a meeting on all stakeholders with an interest in association health plan (AHP) legislation, Joe was able to successfully make the case for inclusion of language sought by NCAHU to clarify North Carolina licensed agents and brokers could be engaged by associations for review and consideration of such plans.
Going forward, GAAC will be working with Joe on NCAHU efforts to address the issue of surprise billing, working with NAHU to support efforts in Congress to secure legislation, as well as with the state legislature on any provisions needed to fully apply the provision of federal law.