SVAHU Updates

In this Newsletter
  • SVAHU-The Epicenter of Benefits- by
     Michael Lujan
  • PAC Needs You! -by Mika Clauson
  • Legislative Updates - by Karen Grogg
  • SURE N SURER comic - by Jeff Bader
  • Sponsors
  • Board of Directors
  • SEPTEMBER 20th meet Zenefits CEO David Sacks, Peter Lee from Covered CA and Janet Trautwien from NAHU!  
    Check in with our website and Social Media outlets listed under Get Social for updates on this event. It was a full house! Did you miss it? We will post the video soon! 
    #SVAHUSpeakerSeries             #InsureTech 
  • OCTOBER 27 th   Social Media Workshop. Learn how to leverage LinkedIn and Twitter to promote and grow your business!
  • Visit to Register and Sponsor
Get Social

Join our LinkedIn page and follow us on twitter @SVAHU


AB 72, has taken nearly 16 years to reach the governor's desk and CAHU has worked all that time towards its passage! Licensed health insurance agents are usually the first to be called when consumers need help with out-of-network charges and balance. AB 72 was just
signed on September 23rd. Thank you to our SVAHU members who wrote to the governor!
You can always use CAHU to have your voice heard here: 

SVAHU - The Epicenter of Benefits Innovation
Michael Lujan, RHU, CHRS
CAHU Immediate Past President &
Proud SVAHU Board Member
If you are a broker in the Silicon Valley area, chances are your agency is keenly aware of the tech trends and innovation happening in the insurance industry... and everything else. Your clients are also "techier" than most and likely demands more from your agency, to use and be expert in the latest benefits technology.

But it's just as challenging for local brokers to keep tabs on the changes and almost daily shifts in our industry and the litany of new startups aimed to help brokers evolve and adapt to the new InsurTech changes, mostly developed right here in the Silicon Valley. While the rents and cost of living are exceptionally high, we are fortunate to work and live in this region during this historic time in our industry. The greatest talents and innovation in health and insurance modernization are right here and will define the future of health insurance and help solve some of the biggest challenges not yet addressed by the ACA. It's no surprise the Silicon Valley/SF Bay Area receives more than half of the country's VC funding, and especially true for health and insurance related investments.

The Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters is fortunate to have such close access and proximity to top carriers, industry thought leaders, futurists and the entrepreneurs leading this charge.  SVAHU has always been lead by bold industry leaders who always seem to be ahead of the rest of the state and country when it comes to innovation. I find that is especially true when I travel to other states and learn what brokers think about technology and their readiness to adapt and change.  In many ways, we have an advantage and have little concern about disruption and being behind the tech curve.

SVAHU was bold to have Zenefits CEO, Parker Conrad speak at our member meeting in April 2015,  At the time, it was a controversial decision as many SVAHU members were still outraged by Conrad's offensive comments about traditional brokers and his promise to put us out of business. I credit Michael Traynor, then SVAHU President, for his open mind and seeing the bigger picture, that brokers could learn much about the fastest growing startup and judge for themselves if they should be concerned.  The interview was electric as it was Conrad's first time addressing a room full of "traditional agents" and the tension was thick as he answered my questions and very transparently shared details of his business model and why he will not partner with agents.
This event inspired SVAHU to continue the speaker series and invite more innovative, market-changing thought-leaders to speak to our members. Much has changed in a year. David Sacks, the current CEO of Zenefits shared updates and insight about the "new Zenefits" and the status of their regulatory complaints, scandals and what's next for the still-swinging giant. I am proud to play the moderator role again and consider our chapter very fortunate to score another first, as this is also David Sacks' first speaking event with a large audience of brokers - his competitors.  Kudos to John Bobincheck, our current SVAHU President, and the new SVAHU board for continuing to support this speaker series and invite interesting and provocative speakers.

Silicon Valley/Bay Area innovation is changing the way we do everything - from Uber disrupting the transportation industry to the convergence of benefits, payroll and HCM technology. Health 2.0, Rock Health, Launchpad Digital Health, AXA Labs, Plug and Play's new Insurance Platform, Insurance Disrupted and other events, startup accelerators and programs all reside here. Companies like EaseCentral, Flock, Gusto, and I will add my own company, Limelight Health are grateful to be here and benefit from the wealth of local talent and creativity the Silicon Valley produces and attracts.  More industry disrupting companies will be hatched in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area over the next decade, leveraging technologies via the Internet of Things (IoT) movement or, in true Silicon Valley style, creating an entirely new movement altogether.  These are truly exciting times for industry veterans and newcomers alike, as most believe technology can help us achieve a better consumer experience and help tackle healthcare's biggest challenges.

Please join us and support the speaker series and let us know what topics interest you most. 

Type caption text here.
PAC Needs You!
By Mika Clauson, PAC Chair
There are constant political efforts made on your behalf through SVAHU, CAHU and NAHU.  Did you know?!
Your membership in SVAHU is much more than local community and education events.  Our local membership means that we're also members of the state and national associations.  Here's how it all works: Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters (SVAHU) feeds into the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU).  CAHU then feeds into the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).  Why is this important?  Well, I'm glad you asked!! 
As members of a local chapter, we have a small but heard voice in local politics.  This helps us create a business friendly environment for our own companies and our business clients.  The state chapter enhances that voice and brings it all the way to Sacramento, where our CAHU lobbyists track bills that impact the free health care market and all pending changes that will impact us and our clients within the state of California.  The health care delivery system is quite political and, to have a seat at that table, it takes PAC dollars. 

NAHU takes it one step further with full time national lobbyists on the hill in DC.  These lobbyists are not only invited to have a seat at the table but they are trusted resources for many political offices.  This all matters because we need a voice that's heard!  Who better to represent the market and our clients than us!?  We're the ones in the trenches and it's so important to have a political voice.

PAC is the Political Action Committee.  We have both a state and national PAC, which helps our lobbyists get in front of the political decision makers.  The goal of our lobbyists is to track bills that impact our industry, amend any areas that are not agent friendly.  They also lobby hard and pull strings to pass bills that are agent friendly but kill bills that would harm our ability to properly perform our jobs!

You may think that politicians open their doors to just anyone.  Well, that couldn't be further from the truth.  Sure, you can make an appointment with your local representative but your impact pretty much ends there as an individual.  It's through our PAC that we are able to contribution to bills and candidates that will help us continue to offer the best possible solutions to our clients when it comes to payment for health care needs...not to mention having us get paid to do so!  That's really what we're doing here!  Helping people get access and pay for some of the best health care in the world!

To keep up the fight, we need all of our members to contribute to PAC and spread the word!  Without our members and your PAC dollars, we don't have a voice.  Without PAC funds, we don't have a seat at the decision making table.  Please, consider taking your membership to the next level and contribute to PAC today.  Even a small $10/month donation is valuable when we sit with the politicians in Sacramento and explain why they should listen to us!

August 31st was the end of the California legislative session and 789 bills were sent to Governor Jerry Brown. By the end of September these bills will either be signed or vetoed and no bills will be carried over to the next session now that the 2015 to 2016 session is over. 

You can always use CAHU to have your voice heard and send your message:
(Bonta D)
Health Care Coverage:
Out-of-network Coverage

Bi-Partisan consumer protection legislation that statutorily bars insured policy-holders from being balanced billed by out-of-network providers when the consumer sought treatment at an in-network facility.  AB 72 also sets out a reasonable dispute resolution process & reimbursement policy for out-of-network service providers.  Protects the enrollee by putting the burden of advanced notice on the out-of-network providers who provide services in an in-network facility. 
AB 1823
(Bonilla D)
California Cancer Clinical Trials Program
As amended June 23, 2016 establishes the privately funded California Cancer Clinical Trials Program overseen by the University of California.  This program will enable cancer patients to find & participate in cancer clinical trials more easily than how it is conducted today.

AB 1899
(Calderon D)
Production Agents:
License Examinations
As amended permits license exams to also be given in Spanish.  This will help to ensure a more diverse base of agents are licensed and available to consumers in the future.

AB 2366
(Dababneh D)
License Examinations
Exempts insurers that offer a policy which combines both life & long-term care coverages from the requirement to offer the new benefits or benefit eligibility criteria to their existing long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy. 
The current law on offer requirement hinders the ability of companies to make new products available for consumers, made compliance very difficult on new hybrid products, and proved to be extremely confusing or misleading to existing policyholders.

SB 908
(Hernandez D)
Health Care Coverage:
Premium Rate Change:
Notice: Other Health Care Coverage
CAHU was originally opposed to SB 908 which sought to add a new special enrollment period if a plan rate or premium changes and the regulator subsequently deems it unreasonable.  SB 908 was subsequently amended to address CAHU concerns to ensure agents are notified at the same time when a client or employer has a policy or contract covered by the proposed law so that the agent may assist their clients in a timely fashion.

SB 1091
(Liu D)
Long-term Care Insurance
Part of an overall Long-term Care (LTC) reform package to add new options for new products in LTC and provide for more consumer choice in the future.

SB 1234
(De Leon D)
Retirement Saving Plans

CAHU worked with NAIFA and the Cal Chamber to ensure that licensed agents and financial advisors will have a role in helping those employees that do not have a current retirement savings select the Secure Choice or other best options in order to help that employee meet future retirement financial goals.  Employer fiduciary and liability issues are also addressed in the bill as it is written on 08/16/2016.

To see a complete list of the bills and get more details please go to the CAHU Legislative Link:                      CAHU Priority Bill Report  
Click on image for comic
Board of Directors

John Bobincheck
Lanea Riley
Karen Grogg
Yolanda Safari 
Mika Clauson 
Prof. Dev.
Claire Felizardo
Yolanda Safari
Susan Spackman
Brian Sullivan
Tracy Lewis
Member At Large Michael Lujan
Past President Michael Traynor

We'd love to have you! Join the Golf Tournament or Medicare Summit Committee. Want to participate with SVAHU in another way? Just let us know! 
For Board contact information, please visit