With Congress going back for a lame duck session, many believe that there is no need to stay involved until the newly elected officials take office. This is a false assumption and if there is ever a time to make your thoughts known, now is the time. For those individuals that are leaving, contacting their staff may be very beneficial as they will want to stay around in Washington and they may be open to new ideas. Many bureaucrats will follow whatever way the wind is blowing and since there is a new wind, you may find them looking for directions. They will always have some say on how things are done and since they don’t have the knowledge, you may be a great asset to them if you contact them now. For those in congress that were not up for election or were re-elected, now is a perfect time to make contact and voice your thoughts. They are looking for new ideas and since not a lot of new legislation will be presented, they may even have time to discuss your thoughts. One of the items that each and every one of us needs to be talking about is the need to remove agent/broker compensation from the MLR. These marketing fees need to be outside of the MLR because it is too easy for carriers to try and lower their expenses at the expense of the professional agent/broker. The general public needs the assistance of these professionals when making a health insurance purchase. The NAIC even acknowledges the value of the professional agent/broker and realizes that without these professionals, our private insurance system will suffer greatly. Some carriers have always thought of the agent/broker as an unneeded cost of doing business and feel that they can go directly to the consumer. This is a choice that every carrier can make and many have tried though out the years. What is interesting that over time, they all realize that the most cost effective way to get product to the final consumer is by use of the professional agent/broker. Let’s make sure that we inform and educate our elected officials that a licensed, professional, well informed and knowledgeable agent/broker is not only cost effective, but also a necessary link in providing health insurance to the public. The recent acknowledgment of HHS that people are not flocking to the guaranteed plan that they introduced should point out the need of agents. But rather than use agents, these really smart people (lol), decided to lower rates. They think that people who haven’t had insurance for at least six months will just jump in and purchase coverage if it is 20% lower. Hey geniuses, if they weren’t buying it before, they probably aren’t going to jump in just because the rate is a little lower. On the other hand, if they would reward agents/brokers to go out and sign these people up, they wouldn’t have to lower costs and they would see much better enrollment. Take the time to call your senators and representatives and explain the role of the agent/broker and explain your value to the general public. Do it now when everyone is listening and before the next election starts.