The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

Still on Hiatus

Posted by Alan on June 16, 2010

Hello. Just wanted to let you know this blog will be reactived soon — I’m aiming for the first of July. After over two years, roughly 450 posts, and the long health care reform debate, it was time to take a short break. My thanks for the kind notes and inquiries and I look forward to resuming the dialogue in a few weeks.


17 Responses to “Still on Hiatus”

  1. Bob McNett said

    Where’s Alan? We’re way past the first of July, sitting here at
    Aug 5. I hope he has had no health problems or anything of that nature. Alan, come back to us!

  2. Ed H said

    Good time to come back. 2014 is not that far away. Re broker compensation, clearly as of Jan 1, they will be dramatically cut.

    My take based on 30 years in the business is 5% flat fee in 2014 and 15% outside the Exchange,

    • Josh P said

      “Clearly they will be cut”

      Please back up this statement with documentation and citations. Everyone is so worked up, with good reason, but a blanket statement such of this…with no facts to back it up…do not do anyone any good.

      The fact is that no one knows what will happen to compensation, and no one knows what impact the new MLR reg’s and exchanges will have on the marketplace. Chill out.

  3. JimK said

    The following link is to a “White Paper” written by the Cato Institute and may be of interest to your readers. I have not had a chance to read it yet, but based on the source and the title “Bad Medicine” I am sure that it is not a ringing endorsement for Obamacare.

    Click to access BadMedicineWP.pdf

  4. Chris said

    You know…I’ve never been an advocate for Unions but… I sure wish health insurance agents had one now! I’ve committed the past 17 years to becoming a health insurance ‘expert’ and am sick that our commissions are going to be cut and, with virtually little if any warning.

    When unemployment is discussed, there’s been no discussion about underemployment and the ultimate trickle down effect that cutting agents’ commissions can impose on various insurance jobs, mortgages, retail, etc. etc..

    Not looking forward to learning about our new (& unimproved) commission structures!

    • We don’t know anything yet. Don’t count it in until it here. HHS is launching their new website today and there is no mention of brokers- just a listing of carriers. Just watch how fast they start to scramble to enlist our services. Everyone deserves the guidance of an health insurance professional in helping them make the important decisions in regards to the health benefits of their loved ones!

      Dear Jeanette,

      Today the Obama Administration launched, a new website to help families and employers take control of their health care.

      The website will allow you to take health care into your own hands, with information about insurance choices and your new rights under the new Affordable Care Act.

      The new website also has tools to help you explore your coverage options, with additional information if you are a parent, a senior on Medicare, a young adult, a person with a disability, or an employer.

      By answering a few easy questions, the website will present you with all the coverage options available to you. You can then learn more about each option, including comparing the health insurance plans and benefits available in your community.

      To visit the website, go to As always, please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.


      Debbie Stabenow

      United States Senator

      • Chris said

        The strong rumor here in Texas is that commissions are being cut by 40-50% as of January, 2011. Is this not the case in your state?

        • It is a rumor. We don’t know how the MLR will be configured. The bottom line is that consumers will need guidance with so many choices. I believe that this will quickly become apparent with the mass confusion that will happen. Even the new goverment website is confusing to say the least. I believe that the role of the independent health insurance broker will rise to hero status as people try to make sense of all of the options out there. When we put our clients interest first in providing them with an analysis of the cost vs. benefits vs. risks in a health insurance option then we are performing a great service to the client. This free service and client advocacy is the best deal in town.

        • Craig said

          Key word, FREE service. Sorry, but I have mouths to feed.

      • Scott said

        I just checked out and it does not direct you anywhere to buy insurance. I am hoping that people are not still afraid that they are going to ose thier business as a broker. I am a long time reader of Alan’s post and I have to agree with him that we will not be gone any time real soon.

        Regardless of what anyone thinks, the public still needs an agent. Don’t drink the cool aid of group hysteria and think otherwise. Take a deep breath and focus on writing insurance.

        • Chris said

          I would tend to agree as well. From what I can see with carrier activity here and in other states is that new packages or combo products will be available outside the exchanges…for instance, policies that combine Critical Illness, Accident Insurance and Life Insurance in addition to Medical Coverage. These comprehensive packages will be sold outside the exchange. So, while the opportunity is unkown at this point within the exchange…it is probable that there will be a rich market for opportunity in diversified product offerings outside the exchange for agents and brokers.

  5. Craig said

    My state, North Carolina, offers a high risk pool with participating licensed agents being compensated a one time fee of $100. My guess is this tiny payment is what the exchange will pay agents. Your future compensation will be determined exclusivley by the secretary of HHS….according to the bill. The Feds are broke now! Time to switch to another occupation.

  6. Robert Lehrer said

    Alan, you’ve earned your time off. Looking forward to reading your insightful comments when you return.

  7. Kevin said

    Hope you’re enjoying the break! Looking forward to having you back on the case.

  8. Malcolm Cutler said


    Your hiatus after offerring comment up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on March 23rd almost seemed appropriate as comment on the formulation of legislation seemed not necessarily need, once legislation was enacted.

    However, with the issuance of the Interim Final Rules on Grandfathering effective today, and with comments due with 60 days, I think there is a need for a 451st post sooner rather than later.

    It appears to me the price for maintaining grandfather plans – avoiding 100% preventive benefits, maintaining favored discrimination for hgigh compensated individuals, certain mandated benefits – does justify changing insurance carriers, adjusting benefits to control employer and employee costs, especially for our employer clients that a provider rich benefits plans.

    It seems to me that the grandfathering position that the Interim Final Rules are taking is a literal no win proposition: Saving grandfather precludes a competitive carrier search and seeking a competitive carrier search creates expensive mandate. Did they really intend to put a lose lose proposition to the employers of our country.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  9. David said


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