February 2017 Newsletter Print

President's Report


Message from the President

Connie Carter, HAHU President

                Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Day at the Capitol with TAHU.  The agenda for the morning meeting included remarks by Senator Kirk Watson from Austin, who is a friend to the insurance brokers and agents.  He appreciates the assistance that brokers and agents give to the consumers.

                Dr. Henry DePhillips, Chief Medical Officer of Teladoc shared with us the vision going forward and the benefits received from policyholders that have used Teladoc.  The benefit to the Employer is lower usage cost on their health insurance, thus helping to keep the premiums from having a huge hike the next year.  Many states have the call center as well as a live video appointment available.  Texas at this time does only the call center due to the AMA lobbying to block the live video.  Apparently their reasoning is they feel they will lose office co-pays and maybe even patients.  Dr. DePhillips said that the evidence proved to be opposite of that.  It gave the doctors and their staff more time to handle the really ill patients that could not be diagnosed or treated by a Teladoc physician or any other call in medical treatment company. 

                Senior Director of Health Reform Compliance with NAHU, Pam Mitroff spoke next on how NAHU is moving forward and making adjustments to work with the Trump administration.  They are having to make a paradigm adjustment because they never expected Trump to win.

                After our break, there was a Balance Billing Panel made up of a diverse panel of experts representing consumers. It included Dr. G. Ray Callas, Chairman, Council on Legislation for the Texas Medical Association; Rep. John T. Smithee, Member, Texas House of Representatives; Stacy Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities and Doug Danzeiser, Director, Life and Health Lines, Texas Department of Insurance.  They discussed how out-of-network providers are sending huge and surprising bills to the patients.  It is costing patients hundreds of thousands of dollars, because they were either unaware or their primary provider did not check to see if the referral they gave their patient was in or out of network.  Balanced billing in Texas promises to be an important issue to the 85th Legislature.

                The Keynote speaker was Ross Ramsey, Executive Editor of the Texas Tribune, and brought a bi-partisan and humorous approach to politics. He spoke on the many changes in the political climate in Texas that will be focused on the new Trump Administration.  Ramsey said that the Texas Legislation will be doing a lot of watching and waiting to see what the Trump administration does during its first year.

                Lobbying by the TAHU and Chapter representatives started after lunch.  Three of TAHU's Legislative Initiatives for 2017 include:

  • First, Fix the "Spousal Glitch" (Rep John Smithee) to harmonize Texas law to match federal and 46 other states which do not confine spouses within the definition of "dependent" in group health plans, permitting spouses to have their own plan.

  • Second, Apply for State Innovation Waiver to Eliminate Artificial Federal Regulation of Small Employer Health Plans (Author: Rep Smithee) is for the Legislature to authorize the Texas Department of Insurance to seek a "State Innovation Waiver" from an arbitrary ACA rule that hampers employer's ability to plan and offer a consistent health benefit plan to employees.

  • Third, Continuing Education Specialty Certification (Author: Rep John Frullo) designed to create a specialty certification for benefits professionals and insurance agents who qualify by voluntarily taking continuing education course on self-insured plans for employers.

                HAHU members Marty Budinsky, his wife Karen (who works for BCBS), Dirk Blankenship, President-Elect of HAHU, and I visited Texas House of Representatives, Mike Schofield's office and spoke with his Chief of Staff, Kenisha Schuster.  Representative Schofield, District 134, came out, introduced himself and shook our hands as he headed off to the Legislative Session meeting. Next, we had an appointment with Representative Senfronia Thompson.  They all had an interest in what TAHU was doing.

                Tom Cottar, Beckie Stockstill Cobb, all former board members and active members in HAHU/TAHU/NAHU for many years and Ron Chapman, HAHU's State Leg chairman visited some Legislators that Tom has known over 25 years. They include Representatives' Valoree Swanson  (new rep) ,Briscoe Cain (new rep), James White and Dennis Paul. They also visited with Senators' Paul Bettencourt and Larry Taylor. We all took a few minutes to sit in on the Legislative Session and see democracy at work.

                As HAHU President, I stayed an extra day to attend the quarterly TAHU Board meeting. We heard reports from the Executive Council,  TAHU Chairs and Chapter Presidents on the state of affairs of TAHU and local chapters.  Declining membership was discussed and it seems every chapter and the state chapter are all feeling the same pain of loss of participation.

                We were visited by Tom Von Kennel from NAIFA, where he extended an invitation to TAHU members to attend their upcoming  NAIFA-TX Legislative Day in Austin.  Tim instructs that you simply show up and indicate you are a TAHU member and the registration will be waived.  Conference details may be found here:          

                A reminder that the HAHU Golf Tournament will be on March 30, 2017, starting at 9:00 am at Cinco Ranch Golf Club - Katy, TX.  Go to the www. website to register and view sponsor opportunities. 

                Luncheon in February will be on Tuesday, February 21st at Fratelli's on Wirt.   Hope to see you there!!  Best Wishes for a New Year!!




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Calendar of Events

February 2017 »

Monthly Board Meeting
Febuary 2017 Luncheon

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Our Luncheon Speaker

The Tools You Need to Help FSA-HRA-HSA All Get Along!

Course number: #104523

Provider Number:  #32408 (TAHU)


In this educational program, insurance agents will learn the basic road rules for implementing FSA, HSA and HRA, including the requirements regarding health insurance. We will review a brief history of these types of accounts, look at changes brought on by the Affordable Care

Act, and review strategies for how these accounts can be coordinated and what types of health insurance plans are used in this coordination. Finally we will review the numerous pitfalls that can de-rail these types of programs. 


Nannette Richardson, CBS, CSFS, SGS

Regional Sales Director

Total Administrative Services Corporation

Nannette Richardson is the Regional Sales Director for Total Administrative Services Corporation, a large national third party administrator. She has over 15 years of sales experience in the Texas group insurance market. Her product experience includes ancillary benefits, stop loss coverage and third party administrative services.

Nannette graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She is a past President of the Houston Association of Health Underwriters and served over 10 years on their Board of Directors. In 2009 she was named HAHU “Health Underwriter of the Year” and in June, 2014 was the recipient of the Ben Kowalski Memorial Award for Excellence by the Houston association.


Howard Block, Regional Sales Director

TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation), Houston

Howard Block has served as the Regional Sales Director for TASC in Houston since 2014. TASC is third party administrator (TPA) specializing in benefits administration of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), H.S.A.’s, and compliance services for group benefit plans.  He has over 25 years of experience in the group benefits arena.

Prior to joining TASC he began his career as an account manager with a TPA with responsibilities in all aspects of managing self-insured health benefit plans. From there he moved into sales and worked as a carrier representative for companies such as Memorial/Sisters of Charity, John Alden, and Cigna.

Over the years Howard has done numerous speaking and educational workshops and seminars on both employee benefits and compliance needs of employee benefit plans. He is beginning his third year of service on the board of directors of Houston Association of Health Underwriters.  Howard attended both the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston and holds a B.S. in Economics.

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Membership Blitz


Please join us Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 at 11:00am at Fratelli’s (just prior to the monthly luncheon) for our MEMBERSHIP BLITZ! You will be entered into the raffle automatically for participating!


You will also have multiple chances to win GIFT CARDS!
1) 1st Volunteer to secure a New Member!
2) 1st Volunteer to RENEW a Lapsed Member on AUTOMATIC DRAFT!
3) Volunteer with the MOST New Members (Minimum 3)
4) Volunteer with the Most Renewing Members on AUTOMATIC DRAFT (Minimum 5)

Where can you find possible New Members???
Bring a guest/co-worker
Contact your Local Insurance Carrier Representative
Contact your new Broker/Agent
Contract your General Agency Representative
Invite someone that is NEW to the Industry
Colleagues from other Insurance Related Associations

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Lace up your skates!  HAHU’s Vanguard Council invites you to show off your roller skating skills at Dairy Ashford Roller Rink, on Wednesday, March 1st, 4-6pm.  Don’t skate?  Don’t worry!  There will be plenty of food and drinks, as well as raffle drawings!  Everyone is invited to come out and mingle, with or without wheels!  This event is FREE for members, and $10 for Non-Members. 


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HAHU Golf Tournament

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Save the Date

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