View from the Top: An Interview with the CEO of NABIP, Janet Trautwein
This article recaps an interview with Janet Trautwein, the CEO of the National Association of Health Insurance Professionals (NABIP). NABIP is the largest professional organization for Medicare agents in the US and is dedicated to advocating on behalf of Medicare agents. This article discusses the top regulatory issues affecting Medicare agents and how the independent Medicare agent landscape is changing.
What is NABIP: Advocacy, Education, and Community
The National Association of Health Insurance Professionals (NABIP), formerly known as NAHU, is the largest professional organization for Medicare agents and is devoted to advocating for agents and educating the community.
NABIP provides a number of services to its members, including advocacy, professional education, and a Medicare certification course. Through its advocacy, NABIP works to ensure that Medicare agents are heard in Congress and other government agencies. They also work with other like-minded groups to make their voice louder and to ensure that the community's interests are represented.
NABIP has 210 chapters across the country, which provide local resources and events for Medicare agents. These events are a great way for agents to meet other agents, learn about upcoming topics, and stay informed about the industry.
The Future of the Call Recording Requirement
As all Medicare agents know, one of the most discussed topics has been the CMS recording requirement. Janet discusses this requirement and how all Medicare agents need to record their phone and video conversations with their clients starting in AEP 2023. NABIP has been working hard to lessen the impact of this requirement, as it can be burdensome and time-consuming.
Unfortunately, Janet shares that there is still a lot of abuse from TPMOs, and due to the “broad brush” approach taken by Congress and CMS, correcting the current requirements has been difficult. Specifically, it is difficult for members of Congress to carve out certain niches that are the actual problem, like call centers, and spare independent, individual agents. Janet shares that she thinks the requirement is here to stay for this upcoming year. However, NABIP is continuing to work with Congress and CMS to try and find a solution that makes CMS recording less burdensome for agents, like decreasing the recording storage length.
Janet and her team at NABIP are also looking at other regulatory issues such as cuts to Medicare Advantage carrier payments, the Inflation Reduction Act and the implementation of prescription drug protections, and the negotiation of drug prices.
NABIP is committed to advocating for the best interests of its members, and they are working hard to find a solution to the CMS recording requirement.
Changes in the Medicare Industry
Janet notes two major trends in the Medicare industry. First, the consolidation of Medicare agencies has been a trending topic in recent years, with many large agencies and FMOs buying out smaller ones. Janet shares that this is even happening at the individual level, with agents buying books of business from other agents.
Second, there are more young agents entering the industry. Janet shares that 20 years ago, the average age of someone becoming a Medicare agent was 50 to 70 years old. Now, more young people are seeing an opportunity to build a successful career as an independent Medicare agent. There’s much more technology available to streamline the process of becoming licensed and managing a Medicare business.
The future of NABIP
Throughout her 26 year tenure as CEO of NABIP, Janet emphasizes that NABIP is committed to effectively responding to changes in the Medicare industry. She has personally witnessed the impact of the organization's policy development and relationship-building efforts, and has also observed its growing influence due to an expanding membership base. Janet notes that NABIP has been able to adapt to changing markets and legislative shifts throughout the decades. The organization has maintained an enormous level of influence and trust in Washington.
Janet will leave NABIP at the end of 2023, and we can’t wait to see what she does next. What does Janet hope for when she’s gone? That NABIP will continue to grow and meet the evolving needs of its members while remaining adaptable to market changes. Ultimately, NABIP is a leader in navigating change in the Medicare industry and is dedicated to advocating for the success of its members and their businesses.