“Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” was the official theme of the National Association of Health Underwriters 88th annual convention in Kansas City. The more informal theme among the gathering of industry leaders can be summed up in a single word: affordability.

The soaring cost of health care, cost-containment strategies and the fast-changing role of brokers spurred lively discussion and outside-the-box thinking. One thing everyone agreed on is that the current economic trajectory is unsustainable.

“The cost of health care is increasing astronomical,” said Daniel Meylan, national sales director for Allied National in Overland Park, Kansas. “In 2010, the average American family spent about $18,000 a year on health care. By 2017, that number was $27,000. If you take those two numbers and project them out to 2022, we’re going to spend $33,000 a year on health care per family in the United States. Does anybody believe that is sustainable?”

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