April 2018  

President's Report




With all the debate about Health Insurance and Health Care these days, one can only guess where it will end up. The debate over how to pay for health care will no doubt continue well into the future, even if congress comes to an agreement and new laws are signed.  Our specific roles and method of compensation may change somewhat over the next few years.  However, the one thing that won’t change is the fact that we are there to help our clients figure out which of the available options are right for them, and then to ensure that those options work as intended.    I believe that to be true even if we end up with a single payor system.  As we know, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health insurance or health care.  We all have stories of clients who came to us because their existing plan was no longer meeting their needs, or perhaps they were anticipating that their needs were about to change.  We all know about using Medicare Supplements to help cover costs that Medicare does not cover.  Hopefully we don’t end up with a single payor system, but even if we do, our clients will still need something more. 


NAHU is working hard to preserve private market solutions. Not only do Janet Trautwein and the  government affairs staff meet with the white house, congress, and various departments in Washington, D.C., they also write various pieces and post on social media.  In case you missed it, Janet Trautwein just had an article in Newsweek regarding preserving the employer exemption.  Here is a link to that article:


As always, Janet provided a very clear and succinct explanation of the need to preserve the employer exclusion. NAHU also has several infographics available to us as members, to help us explain various issues to our clients.  Here is one example:


At the state level, we are committed to keeping up with the changes, and providing our members with pertinent information. We will try not to bombard your email boxes with every detail, or with redundant information, but only useful, pertinent information.  As usual, if you want specific types of information, or particular types of CE courses, please let us know.  We do our best to accommodate our members.  Our members are at the center of all we do.




Best Regards,


Danine C. Baca, RHU, REBC, LPRT


President, NMAHU



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Calendar of Events



Join us at NMAHU for our spring symposium!

April 12-13

Presbyterian Health Plan



Thursday, April 12


8:30 – 9:30 Jeff Dye, President of the New Mexico Hospital Association will discuss the Future of

Healthcare from a provider’s prospective.

9:30-10:30 Brooks Knoll, Wage Works will present an update on COBRA and State Continuation.

10:30-11:00 NMAHU Board will provide an overview of the NAHU website as well as other updates.

 11:00-12:00 Morris Chavez, NMAHU Lobbyist, will present a legislative update, including what to expect in the coming months and how brokers can help influence the future.

2:00-5:00 Lisa Johnson, Large Case Specialist at UNUM, will host a unique technology course.

Friday, April 13

8:30-9:30 Rachael Speegle, RN, COO of The Verdes Foundation, will bring us up to date on the Ethics of Medical Cannabis, including discussion on therapeutic complexity, and legal and ethical issues.

9:30-10:30 Andrea Brody, RxBenefits, Inc. will share details on pharmacy cost drivers, contract negotiation and the value of carving pharmacy out of, self-funded health plans.  

10:30-12:30 Marlene Baca, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections, will provide an overview of Medicare.

1:00 – 2:00 Paige Duhamel, attorney with the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, will provide an update on proposed federal regulatory changes to the health insurance marketplace and their impact on New Mexico health policy and consumer protections. 

2:00-3:00 Jeffrey Hayes, Medicare Compliance Officer for Presbyterian and AZ State University, Tempe teacher in their healthcare compliance program, will present an hour of Ethics. The topic will be Ethics and Applied Ethics and will include an “ethics check”.




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Awards Report

Greetings New Mexico Health Underwriters Members!

We are currently accepting nominees for the following local and state NMAHU chapter awards:

Eva Jean Fomalont Award – Outstanding Commitment Award

Pat Miller Award – Distinguished Service Award

Anne Sperling Award – Legislative Award


Please see the below criteria for each award:

Eva Jean Fomalont (EJF) Award

This award recognizes an outstanding member who has shown outstanding commitment to the NAHU organization over the years and has fulfilled various positions successfully by carrying out the goals and objectives of each position held.  Commitment includes serving in a leadership position through a local, state, region and national capacity.  The nominee must also have devoted a minimum of five years or more toward public and community service.

Pat Miller Award (PMA) - Distinguished Service

This award recognizes an outstanding member who has contributed significantly above and beyond in connection with association volunteer services. This means commitment of time, talent and finances to the advancement of the association and the health insurance industry.  This recognition is open to any outstanding person who has been a member of health underwriters for at least two plus years and meets the Pat Miller criteria is eligible.  The PMA is not for everyone as it represents the pinnacle of the "personal best" of an active member.  

Anne Sperling Award

This award recognizes an outstanding member who has shown dedicated service through communication and education regarding legislative and compliance issues.  The person who receives this award has committed their time and talent in representing Health Underwriters by establishing and building relationships with local, state and/or national legislative leaders. 

The deadline for nominations and submission is by midnight, April 30, 2018. Please see the attached award submission forms and submit them to [email protected]. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 505-550-8664. The award winners will be contacted and recognized in a future NMAHU meeting.


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Communications Report







NAHU wants to hear from our members about their successes and why they are members of NAHU. They have a new email address, [email protected], for members to send a little testimonial of why they are members and what NAHU has done for them. This is similar to “Brokers Making a Difference”, but these are stories from members and not clients. We will be promoting this at Capitol Conference and Annual Convention with stickers saying “I’m IN.” So send in your testimonials and promote this to your fellow members.






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What's New?

The New Mexico Association of Health Underwriters has hired Lobbyist, Morris J. Chavez.

Morris (Mo) Chavez was retained as NMAHU Lobbyist. Morris J. (Mo) Chavez is an AV Peer Review Rated Attorney that possesses a unique combination of administrative, insurance regulatory and legal experience. In 2006, he was appointed as the Superintendent of Insurance for the State of New Mexico serving from 2006 through 2010. He served on the NAIC Executive Committee and become the Vice-Chair of the Western Zone within months of his appointment. Mo was also appointed by NAIC Officers to serve as the Chairman for two national committees on Title Insurance and Consumer Affairs.

Mo is currently a shareholder in the SaucedoChavez, P.C. law firm based in Albuquerque, NM. Mo has presented both locally and nationally on topics such as health care reform, ethics, diversity and insurance law for entities such as the American Bar Association, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the S.E. Insurance Regulator's Association.

“Local agents and brokers serve as a source of truth about healthcare coverage that links the needs of citizens, business and policymakers to create a healthy, more fiscally responsible American healthcare system. We need solid representation not only at the National level, but at the local and state level” NMAHU President, Danine Baca said.

Welcome aboard Mo! 

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Membership Report

 NMAHU Membership update

-By Julia Moore

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HUPAC Roundup

Elections around the country have seen some surprising upsets by Democratic candidates, and the closer we get to November, the more likely it appears that this trend will continue. The Cook Political Report has shifted its predictions for 21 races this coming November in favor of the Democrats. This shift is primarily due to polling numbers within the actual districts as well as the amount of fundraising the parties and candidates have put into these races in the last couple of months. This major swing in predictions may be surprising to some considering that national polls are currently swaying in Republicans’ favor. Democrats are leading Republicans in the generic ballot poll (which is based on national polls that ask which party people would support in the upcoming congressional election) but only by less than six percentage points (46.9-40.4%.) This is a sharp decline from the end of December, when Democrats led Republicans by over 10 points (50.1-37.3%.) However, despite the fact that Democrats are not doing as well in national polls, other factors show that they are doing very well within individual districts.

Three open elections (NH-01, NJ-02 and PA-07) have gone from a “toss up” to “leaning Democrat.” Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district is former Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan’s district, who announced his retirement after a sexual harassment scandal earlier this year. Although a plurality of elections are still likely Republican, there are several races that are no longer solidly Republican, which continues a worrying trend for the GOP. Of course, Republicans still have a tight hold over many districts. There are 168 solid Republican seats, though some of them could hypothetically become toss-ups if the Democratic Party decides to pool more resources toward the races. For example, New York’s 24th and California’s 21st districts voted for Secretary Clinton in the 2016 election, but Democrats have struggled to capitalize on that. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) in particular is a very popular incumbent, and the Democrats will be hard pressed to find somebody who could defeat him despite the district’s tendency to vote blue in the past three presidential election cycles. Some markers are nearly always an indication of how an incumbent party will perform, such as economic data and the quality of the stock market. However, election predictions swinging in favor of the Democrats may also be due to the decline in President Trump’s popularity over the last year within states that won him the election. In the elections held so far this month, Democrats had surprising victories in Wisconsin and Missouri. According to Morning Consult, which has been surveying voters across the country about their approval of the president, President Trump’s approval rating decreased by four percentage points in Missouri and five percentage points in Wisconsin over the last year; and more telling is that the president’s disapproval rating increased by over 10 percentage points in both states. A similar trend is visible in other states where Cook Political Report has switched its prediction, including Pennsylvania and Michigan. The president’s popularity is most likely going to have a serious impact on congressional elections this November. Did You Know… ...HUPAC is more efficient than the average PAC when it comes to the average cost per dollar raised for PAC fundraising operations? The typical association PAC spends 33 cents per $1 while HUPAC spends 25 cents per $1. That is a testament to the careful planning and budgeting by the HUPAC Board of Trustees and staff. So consider making a contribution to the administrative fund on behalf of your agency or corporation. Your administrative fund dollars allow us to continue funding operations that will bring in candidate fund dollars to support the PAC. Click here to contribute today.


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What's in it for you?

NMAHU: What’s in it for you?

NMAHU recently surveyed our members and as surveys go, participation was lacking. That made me wonder, “what would it take for our members to feel they had a voice in our association?”

For years the dedicated board of the NMAHU have worked tirelessly to provide valuable continuing education events, information on political issues that affect our industry, charity events to support our community and have partnered with NAHU at the national level to provide discounts and certifications.

As our industry continues to change, NMAHU has been a constant presence. Supporting our industry and local brokers and agents by providing lawmakers in Washington and Santa Fe information they can use to make important decisions on health care policy.  

If you look to the NAHU website, you can review the work they are doing at a national level.  Anything you need for your clients on health care policy at a national level is there.  When your local NMAHU members go to Washington they take YOUR concerns with them to let our state Representatives and Senators information that what they do there, affects us here in New Mexico.

At the local level, we are currently supporting a partnership with a lobbyist. We feel healthcare issues are building in New Mexico.  There has been quite a bit of movement on the single-payer initiative and in the 2016 legislative session, it made it through several committees before the session ran out.  We need to know and let you know as soon as an issue arises.  Then, we need to rally together to educate our lawmakers. 

Due to recent changes at OSI the continuing education requirements have changed for both the broker/agent and for NMAHU. There are stricter requirements and additional information must be provided.  These changes have created a disruption in our events calendar but we’re working through them and with OSI to create valuable educational events. 

If you need a certification in Self-Funded arrangements, HIPAA privacy and security, Wellness or Voluntary Worksite options NAHU has the training you need at a cost that’s affordable. What do you need to grow your career, your staff, yourself?   Check out the certifications page at NAHU:

We are always looking for ways to support our community. In the past we have provided donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Roadrunner Food Bank, Savers and many more.  If you have a special community project let us know.  We’re always ready to support our members efforts in the community. 

You can help us by telling other brokers about these important services to our members. Join us for a CE event and bring a colleague or client, call to ask a question or give us feedback by email.  We want to hear what YOU have to say.  NMAHU is your organization and you do have a voice.  Tell us what you need from NMAHU and we’ll work to make our association better.  Contact us at:


See you soon,

Agnes Gallegos

2017/2018 Media Chair/ Past President

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