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California Health Agents to Meet with Sacramento Politicians

by John Hansen

At the CAHU Summit 2016 on May 18, Mike Belote prepped California health agents before they went to meet with political leaders in the Sacramento State Senate and Assembly. He said, “We are lobbyists and story tellers. We deliver a narrative.” That narrative is one aimed at communicating the interests of brokers who sell health insurance in California.

Belote said, “We have seen a transformation. People who thought the day of agents was coming to an end were hugely, profoundly wrong. We are hearing from regulators who believe in agents and agent commissions as consumer protection.”

He encouraged California health agents to demonstrate bipartisan spirit and “offer your assistance to political leaders.” He said, “We’re the pros that begin with enrollment but continue on after that with providing service.”

The Perfect Time for Agents to Meet with Congressmen in Sacramento

Belote noted that now is the perfect time of the year to meet with political leaders in Sacramento. From January to August 31, there is 7 months of legislative activity. 2400 to 2500 bills are introduced in the Senate and Assembly. Hundreds of bills go through the State Congress every year that potentially could affect the insured as well as California health insurance agents.

The Assembly and Senate both start with their own bills. 2/3 pass and 1/3 go away. After reviewing their own bills, they start hearing the other house bills.

Belote pointed out, “Now [at this time] both [houses] are closing out the first evaluation of these bills, and now the action goes to appropriations/fiscal issues.” This month congressmen and women will hear the other house’s bills.

So there is a lull right now. Policy is taking a pause, so these California health agents are far more likely to meet with an actual legislator, rather than simply meeting with his/her staff.

Belote encouraged the crowd to gently talk about the issue of fair compensation for California health agents. He said, “This issue is going to grow. [So we need to] talk about the value of the agent.”