Any day now, the June issue of Benefits Selling should be landing on your desk. And this month's cover story warns brokers that health care reform — and all its ongoing consequences — isn't the only thing you should be worried about.
Sure, it's easy to get caught up in the media and political hype over this game-changing legislation, but we really do have bigger fish to fry. Fish so big, in fact, that it's going to take several issues to cover it all.
This month, we focus on a different kind of reform that may catch some of you on the retirement side off guard. And, yeah, I'm talking about 401(k)s. Things are changing, and apparently it's not sexy enough to grab headlines or launch presidential campaigns. But you need to pay attention.
And while you've heard a lot about states across the country struggling with budget deficits, revenue shortfalls and out-of-control spending (sound familiar?), what you might not realize is that those budget woes threaten 529 plans, once considered a safe haven for the average employee.
But that doesn't mean we should take our eyes off the health reform ball. While the bulk of our attention is focused on medical loss ratios and the inherent threat to broker commissions, or those mysterious exchanges, the advent of accountable care organizations brings its own set of unintended consequences. Conceived as a way to streamline medical procedures, and thereby hold down costs, it looks like they're also stifling competition.
The boon in doctor and hospital consolidation is driving up costs in the short-term, leaving brokers in the unenviable position of passing on another set of rate hikes to already squeezed — and often struggling — clients. There's a lot more at play here than many of us realize.
So I suppose today's lesson is don't get caught with tunnel vision of any particular issue and stay focused on the bigger picture.