In case you missed these recent headlines:

"Health Care Brokers Fight for Fees" - Washington Post

"The Debate Over Brokers' Fees" - New York Times

"Brokers Seek to Preserve Role in Health Insurance Marketplace" - Kaiser Health News

The stories - and other recent media coverage - focus on efforts underway to push back against PPACA's medical loss ratio rules. At least as far as the popular media is concerned, broker commissions are big news right now.

This is good and bad. It's good because getting more people to focus on commissions can an effective way to get them to see the value brokers provide to employers and, by extension, to workers no matter what color their collar is. It's bad because there's no guarantee that a particular story will address what brokers bring to the table - that's up to the reporter and the editor. That's where you come in.

For the first time since the law was enacted 13 months ago, we're being presented the opportunity to tell our story - to get the message out that brokers are a value-added necessity, not a cost-added luxury. Let's not pass it by.

Here are four things you can do on your own:

1. Reach out to the newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations that serve your area. For newspapers and magazines, look for the reporter's byline and find his or her e-mail address on their website. For broadcast media, find the news director's e-mail address. Then send a short e-mail (don't call, but be sure to include your phone number in the e-mail) identifying yourself and offering to go on the record explaining health reform, as well as what brokers really do and why they're important. This establishes you as an insider and an authority on a complicated subject, and plants the idea for a story or news segment on the topic. (Obviously, it also establishes your credibility to existing clients and prospects.) Offer to put them in touch with employers (your clients - see #2) who are wrestling with health care reform.

2. Reach out to your best clients. Ask them whether they might be willing to field a call from a reporter and describe how PPACA has affected their business.

3. Take the initiative to contact business groups in your area to address health care reform at an upcoming meeting.

4. Find out who sits on your state's health exchange task force or implementation committee, and reach out to them.

Questions, comments, suggestions? E-mail me at

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