The solution to all of our fears is to find the light in what we fear. ~David Meltzer

It was an honor meeting author and speaker David Meltzer at the National Association of Health Underwriters convention recently. Meltzer shares lessons on success, entrepreneurship and living a fulfilling life in his weekly podcast The Playbook. We thought you might enjoy the most recent episode where Meltzer is joined by the world’s greatest poker champ Phil Hellmuth (who happens to live in Northern California).  The 15-time winner of the World Series of Poker (and new author) shares insights on:

  • Why poker players need to be as introspective as possible in order to win
  • How hate hurts you and his three simple steps to rid yourself of hate
  • Why his journey to being the best poker player ever has been motivated by both desperation and inspiration
  • Why money management is much more important than poker skills!

Take a listen here.

Commish Lara Gets Heat for Industry Donations

Jeff McDonald reports in the San Diego Union-Tribune that soon after Ricardo Lara became the new California Insurance Commissioner he organized a reelection committee that began accepting tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from folks with ties to companies he regulates:

The donations, which are not illegal, contradict a pledge Lara made in the run-up to the 2018 election that he would reject contributions from the insurance industry.

Lara reported accepting more than $50,000 in donations in recent months from insurance company executives and their apparent spouses, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune analysis of campaign funding data.

Covered Cal Unveils Prelim 2020 Rates

Covered California recently unveiled its preliminary rates for the upcoming 2020 coverage year. The preliminary average rate change for California’s individual market will be 0.8 percent in 2020, which Covered Cal says is the lowest premium increase since 2014, and a fraction of the five-year actual average increase of 7.9 percent. The lower rate change was driven by two new state affordability initiatives: the restoration of the individual mandate and new state subsidies that an estimated 922,000 consumers will be eligible to receive, which will lower the cost of coverage. Together, the initiatives are projected to increase the number of Californians getting insurance by an estimated 229,000 people.


AHIP’s Pres Sounds Off about Drug Rebates

A proposal to restrict drug rebates under Medicare Part D “would hurt seniors, the disabled, and hardworking taxpayers” while doing nothing to encourage price reductions, according to Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans. Catch Eyles’s entire USA Today editorial here.


Alight to acquire Hodges-Mace to enhance its health and voluntary benefit capabilities and expand suite of solutions for employers of all sizes

Alight Solutions  announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Hodges-Mace, a provider of employee benefits technology, voluntary benefits and custom enrollment services. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. Founded in 2004, Hodges-Mace delivers industry-leading health benefits administration technology and services to more than 500 U.S. employers and over 1.2 million active, benefit-eligible employees. Its SmartBen® technology platform enables employees to enroll in, shop for and manage their core and voluntary benefits. In addition, Hodges-Mace works with employers and brokers to provide white-glove benefits enrollment services, including one-to-one advisory sessions during important events, like annual enrollment and new hire onboarding. With the addition of Hodges-Mace’s highly configurable technology and high-touch enrollment services, Alight will now be able to meet the needs of employers of nearly any size and level of complexity, including employers smaller than what Alight has traditionally served. In addition, Hodges-Mace’s partnerships with consultants, brokers and carriers will strengthen Alight’s reach into the growing health and voluntary benefits technology and services market. Greg Hodges and Peter Mace, co-founders and co-CEOs of Hodges-Mace, will continue to lead the organization, and Kevin Andrews, president and chief technology officer, and Ron Shah, chief financial and operations officer will remain in key roles once the transaction closes.


MDRT Takes on Hunger

For its 60th anniversary, the MDRT Foundation, the charitable arm of 72,000 Million Dollar Round Tree members in 70 countries, announced it is partnering with The Hunger Project to pioneer people-focused strategies that provide hope and combat hunger around the world. Since its inception in 1959, the MDRT Foundation’s goal has been to make a tangible, global impact on those in need, and it has donated more than $34 million to charitable organizations serving people in 70 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Inspired by The Hunger Project’s mission to eradicate global hunger by 2030 through the widespread adoption of holistic, sustainable approaches in communities around the world, the Foundation chose The Hunger Project for its charitable partner at both its Annual Meeting in June and its Global Conference in September. During the Annual Meeting, MDRT members raised over $220,000 in funds towards the Foundation’s global grants program and The Hunger Project’s mission. More than 9,800 members from 56 countries also had the opportunity to help fight hunger in a tangible way at the Annual Meeting by participating in the MDRT Foundation Service Project: Seed Programs International. On June 11, members filled 20,000 seed packages, which translates into 70 tons of future produce, to send to families living in impoverished communities in Latin America. The goal was to help initiate a cycle of self-sufficiency that provides families resources to feed and support themselves.  To learn more, follow MDRT Foundation on Facebook or visit


Association Of California Life and Health Insurance Companies Appoints New President and CEO

The Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies (ACLHIC) announced the appointment of John Shirikian as president and CEO, effective July 1, 2019. ACLHIC is the only state trade association to represent the interests of over 40 life and health insurance companies doing business in California before the Legislature and regulatory departments. Shirikian brings a wealth of experience in government affairs and in the life and health insurance industry.  Beginning as a congressional aid, Shirikian first joined the ACLHIC team in 2006.  He left ACLHIC to become director of government affairs at Pacific Life Insurance Company from 2013-2016.  Shirikian returned to ACLHIC as vice president of policy and administration until his appointment as president and CEO. Shirikian succeeds Brad Wenger, becoming only the third president since ACLHIC’s formation in 1962.

SCAN Health Plan Appoints Crossover Health, Google Cloud Executives to its Board of Directors

SCAN Health Plan®, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage health plans, announced the appointment of Celeste Ortiz, chief people officer of Crossover Health, and Brandon Jones, head of Americas Sales Development at Google Cloud, to its board of directors. In a written release, SCAN said the addition of Ortiz and Jones to the board, with their respective backgrounds in human resources and technology, reflects the company’s commitment to selecting experts from various disciplines to help shape the future of care for all seniors.


LAAHU and VCAHU 5th Annual Medicare Summit– We’ll see you here!

August 20-21, Pickwick Gardens, Burbank

Join Los Angeles and Ventura County Health Underwriters to “Become a Medicare Icon.” Speakers, breakouts, CE and much more! Sponsorship and exhibit info here.  Register here.

NAHU Region VIII Leadership Conference

August 25-26, The Queen Mary, Long Beach

Training and strategic planning for all local board positions, plus an opportunity to network with other leaders. Early bird pricing of $149 includes evening reception on 8/25 and a full day of conference on 8/26. Stay in a deluxe stateroom for only $129. Patrick Burns, NAHU Region VIII vp, will preside as ship captain. The event is hosted by LAAHU and OCAHU.

Association of Health Underwriters Senior Summit– We’ll see you here!

August 28-29, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

The Sixth Annual Senior Summit sponsored by the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego Associations of Health Underwriters is the largest AHU Medicare event in the country. Keynotes, breakout sessions, CE and much more. Early bird pricing in effect until Aug 1: $79 for members, $99 for nonmembers. Register here.

NAAIA National Conference & Empowerment Summit
Sept 11-13, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA

Leaders from across the insurance and financial services profession will come together at this high ­energy industry event to further the education, advancement and uplifting of African American insurance professionals. More info at

EXTRA: NAAIA Leadership summit sponsored by The Hartford is scheduled for Sept. 11 from 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. at Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel. $150 for early bird, $175 otherwise.  Breakfast and lunch included! Info for this event is also at

DCAHU 3rd Annual Medicare Summit

Sept 19, Villa Portofino Clubhouse, 4001 Via Portofino, Palm Desert
Scan Face to Face Level 3 Certification and much, much more!  Here’s the full schedule for the Desert Cities Association of Health Underwriters Medicare Summit: Registration 8:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast Provided

Course 9-11 a.m.
2 Medicare C.E.s & Vendor Lunch Meeting
“Understanding Social Security for the Medicare Agent”
Presented by Maggie Stedt
“Group Benefits vs. Medicare Benefits”
Presented by David Garcia from Warner Pacific
11a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Aetna 2020 Benefits Overview Face to Face
Course 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Advance tickets are only $40.00 – all Inclusive. After September 16 tickets are $65. Register here.

Alliance of Comprehensive Planners 2019 Annual Conference
Nov. 12-15, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego

​​​​​​The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP)  is a community of tax-focused financial planners who provide planning strategies for clients on a fee-only retainer basis. Conference early bird registration rates (which expire Oct. 11, 2019) are in effect now. Participation is open to all interested financial professionals. Companies interested in sponsoring the ACP Annual Conference should contact Jill Colsch at The agenda is available here: More info here.

CAHU Women’s Leadership Conference
March 25-27, 2020, JW Marriott Resort&Spa, Las Vegas

Save the date! Get early bird pricing by registering by 8/31/19 and using code NAHU19. More info at

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