The last week of March was a busy one here at EBA HQ. With the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of health care reform's individual mandate in our own backyard, EBA couldn't miss the opportunity to head down to Capitol Hill to check out the scene for ourselves - and bring you the latest news on the proceedings in the process.
Reporting live just outside the court, Associate Editor Marli Riggs witnessed heated arguments between conservatives and liberals, and spoke with passionate supporters and opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Listen to the podcasts for yourself at eba.benefitnews.com/podcasts.
We would have loved to hear equally as passionate commentary from brokers and advisers. And we did - to an extent. We made more than 30 phone calls and emails over the week with that intent, but were surprised at some of the responses (or lack thereof) that we received. While several of those we reached were happy to share their criticism of PPACA as a whole, many were unaware of what exactly the Supreme Court was addressing, and there were even a couple of brokers that didn't know the Supreme Court hearings were happening that week at all.
I know these brokers were busy, but I have to admit I was a little surprised at the lack of engagement in a topic that has the potential to completely alter their career trajectory.
And speaking of something with the potential to change the way brokers and advisers do business, be sure to read this month's cover story ("The next wave in benefit communication," p. 32) on Steve Pappadakes. A former broker, Pappadakes now runs Visyt, Inc., a technology firm specializing in benefits communication through artificially intelligent avatars.
Designed to lead employees through open enrollment, onboarding and help with a host of frequently asked questions, Pappadakes promises these navigators don't come with the same threat of taking away your job as those connected to PPACA's state exchanges might. In fact, rather than being wary of the potential for avatar technology to replace them, "innovative and forward- thinking brokers are growing their practice exponentially," he says, "... [by] changing the whole discussion paradigm to focus on the things they're really good at," such as the 24/7 service commitment the avatars enable, and the resulting opportunity for more time to devote to comprehensive strategic benefit planning.
How are you working with technology to bring your firm to the next level and ensure a successful business - no matter how the Supreme Court rules on PPACA? We want to hear from you.
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