April 2017  

President's Report

Hello fellow members.


It has been definitely an honor to serve as president of GAHU in 2016 and 2017. This year has been packed full of activities and events. 

We had a successful convention in Jekyll Island in August 2016.  Over 200 members attended and we had a variety of speakers that included the Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Ralph Hudgens, Dean Mohs from CCIIO and Marcy Buckner, NAHU VP of Legislative Affairs to name a few. We held breakout sessions that provided a variety of topics to reach everyone. Robby Kerr our Golf Chair held a great golf tournament and fun was had by all. 

Our recipient of the 2016 Kathy Cruce award was Robert Fitzgerald; this is the highest honor that GAHU bestows to a very well deserving member. Bob has served the association in different roles from President, to HUPAC and GAHUPAC Chair and also serves at a national level on NAHU’s Medicare Advisory Committee. 

In February 2017, GAHU held our Annual Day at the Capitol where we met with Georgia’s Legislators to hear the latest updates on issues affecting our industry. Among the speakers were Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Ralph Hudgens, House Insurance Committee Chair Richard Smith, Senate Insurance & Labor Chair Burt Jones and others. 

February 19, 2017 many of our members attended the annual Capitol Conference held in Washington DC. During this event, we heard from multiple speakers that include elected officials and other dignitaries.  This event also features visits with Georgia’s elected officials. We visited with 13 of 14 representatives and our 2 senators and their legislative liaisons. The message that we brought to them was to stabilize the market. We presented ideas on how to make changes to the law and regulations as it is related to health insurance. Cap Conference is my favorite event that NAHU provides as it gives me the opportunity to be in the field of play as I have a chance to voice my thoughts and opinions to elected officials. Mark Phillips, this year’s federal legislative chair did a phenomenal job in arranging our hill visits. 

Membership is always a priority as members are the lifeblood of our organization. Our membership chair, Kevin Smith, challenged all chapters to participate in the Chalice Cup which is awarded to the chapter that recruits and retains their members. Kevin has done a great job on your behalf throughout the years. 

GAHU was involved in fund raising to help those in our community who are in need. In the fall, several of our members participated in the GAHU Insure the Cure Ride for Cystic Fibrosis in Honor of Carol Hayes and raised over $4,700.  Amongst those riding was Immediate Past President Andy Berli and Karyn Thistlewood AAHU board member.  In addition to that, the annual GAHU raffle, $ 5 for every dollar collected went to CF as well. A special thanks to David Knight for his many years of service in Fundraising.

 I want to personally thank this year’s executive board of directors (Annette Bechtold, Mychal Walker, Renie Cochran and Deborah Phillips) who work very hard on your behalf.  I am very thankful for those who have dedicated themselves to GAHU and their local chapters. Those presidents are Shan Rickets Atlanta, Lori Protsman; Coastal Empire, David Barrett; Middle Georgia, Rick Kent; NE Georgia, Michelle Fountain; NW Georgia, Renie Cochran; South Atlanta and Deborah Phillips, South Georgia. 

Russ Childers continues to serve as the Government Affairs chair. Other folks who have served this year are Donna Hill as GAHU PAC & HUPAC chair, Jodie Braner as Media Relations, Maggie Coley as Technology and Communications, Trey Tompkins as Ethics chair, Raymer Sale in Professional Development. Thank you so much for your service. 

Also I would like to extend my gratitude to Gina Grantham and Linda Shein at AESI who are our executive administrative staff as well as Don Bolia, Laura Norton and Jennifer Winkler at Peachtree Government Relations who are our full time lobbyists. You guys go above and beyond the call of duty for GAHU.  Thank you!

Overall it’s been a productive year and full of activities. I encourage you to participate in your local chapter’s monthly meetings or symposiums that are occurring in the spring.  Also it is critical that you make your voices heard by participating in NAHU’s operation shout, attending Cap Conference next year and calling your elected officials.  Make sure you visit the NAHU website which is full of useful information.


Yours in service,


Al Schiebel

President GAHU


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