CAHU:Membership Helps Grow Your Business

I AM A HEALTH INSURANCE agent and have been a member of the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) for many years. State membership also includes membership in a local chapter and in the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). You may be thinking, “Why should I be a member? What will it do to help me, my business, and my clients?”

There are so many reasons to be a member.

Because I belong to both CAHU and NAHU and participate enthusiastically, my business has grown tremendously. For example, I get calls from members across the country looking for a local California agent to help their clients. I also refer business to agents in other states where I am not licensed and don’t know their local plans.

Keeping up on legislation

Do you like being a health insurance or Medicare agent? Have you looked at what the Sacramento and Washington, D.C. legislators are considering doing to our industry? In case you don’t know (or have tuned out), they are considering getting rid of our health insurance system and us, as they think we are not needed. They believe the government can do a better job. The DMV of health insurance, consider that thought! Oh my, what would health insurance look like?? No options? Rationed benefits? No agents to help clients get the coverage and services they need?

As I began writing this article I was listening online to the Healthy California for All Commission Meeting. They talked about a unified financing system for California, AKA a new way of saying Single Payer. They discussed how bad our current healthcare system is and what can be done better as a unified system. Which means they propose replacing our current health insurance plans and our jobs because they think they can put together a better health care plan for California with almost all medical care being free. How feasible is this?

By being a member you will know what is going on in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. from the inside. You will be kept informed by NAHU about what you need to be aware of in Washington, D.C. and across the country.

NAHU and CAHU have lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. that advocate for the interests of health insurance and Medicare agents all year. They meet with our legislators and educate them on the essential role we play. We agent members also go to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. yearly to meet our legislators and share with them what we do for their constituents and lobby for needed reforms. Without this advocacy, legislators and their staff would have no idea what a health insurance or Medicare agents’ role is and how we help their constituents find the right plan for their particular needs. Also, we show how we are there for our clients and their constituents 12 months a year. We don’t just sell them a plan and never see them again.

If you sell Medicare plans, just by selling one a year, the commission will pay for your NAHU/CAHU membership for the whole year. That is a very small price to pay to keep your job, your livelihood, your employees employed, and your clients serviced!

You may be thinking, “Why do we need lobbyists?
Why should I contribute to a Political Action Committee (PAC)?”

To start, the opposition has lobbyists, so we should too. Their lobbyists are trying to get their point across to the legislators about why health insurance has to change to a Single Payer type plan and casts agents as “unnecessary overhead.” Our lobbyists know the legislators and meet with them to elucidate the critical role of the agent. They counteract the inaccuracies of the opposition, along with sharing stories of how agents helped their constituents with buying the right plan for their needs, handling their claims, etc.

Isn’t that a good reason to give to the PAC, to protect your job and your commissions?

Additionally, I share pertinent information with my clients such as the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Most agents don’t do that, so it gives you a way to be different than others. I also develop relationships with my local media, so when they need to know anything relating to health insurance, they know I’m someone they can contact.

Other reasons we need our lobbyists
A few years ago the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wanted to reduce the commission they pay Medicare agents by 50% because they did not understand and appreciate our value. They also were only going to pay us renewal commissions for five years. CMS also did not understand what a field marketing organization (FMO) did and saw no need to pay them.

NAHU sent our lobbyist to meet with CMS. They educated CMS on the value of using a Medicare agent when a consumer is going to turn 65 and in future years. After CMS learned the value of a Medicare agent, instead of a reduction in commissions, they raised commissions and renewals, kept lifetime renewals, and continued paying FMO’s too. This is just one more reason to be a member: NAHU is an association that protects your job and your income.

The NAHU/CAHU membership advantages go on
If you sell Medicare plans, just by selling one a year, the commission will pay for your NAHU/CAHU membership for the whole year. That is a very small price to pay to keep your job, your livelihood, your employees employed, and your clients serviced!

Also consider: one day you will want to retire and have someone take over your book of business. If you don’t have a family member or an employee who is licensed and could step in and take over the day-to-day work for you, what do you do?
By being a member, you can network with other agents at your local chapter meetings. With time they become friends (I have made many friends all over the country as a member). One of those members you meet may be a perfect fit when you decide to grow your business or retire.

Free continuing education credits
By being a member you will also receive continuing education credit
(CE) for participating in certain events. I have not had to buy CEs the last 10 years because of all the free CE classes I attended.
You also learn from chapter meeting speakers about many topics to help you grow and protect your business and your income. Helpful topics include:

  • Why you need to be incorporated to protect your commissions
  • What you need to do to protect your business and income in case of death, disability or upon retirement
  • Review of new plans, new ideas on selling that have been successful for other agents
    All while getting continuing education credits to boot!
    If you are not a member, please consider becoming one. It will be the      best investment you ever make in yourself and your business.

CRAIG GUSSIN, CLU, LPRT, DIF is president of RWR Insurance Services, LLC. He serves as PAC chair for CAHU. Contact: