When the history of COVID-19 is written, it will probably confirm that this was the greatest mobilization of manufacturing power since World War II. From food to ventilators to the vaccines themselves, manufacturers are making the products that keep Americans safe, comfortable and hopeful. And they’ve done it all while contending with an economic crash, a raft of new regulations and new safety procedures that had to be implemented at top speed.
These extraordinary demands on manufacturers call for an unprecedented degree of policy support, and the NAM is making sure they get it. As of September, the NAM has achieved 60 policy wins for manufacturers. We recently talked to NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse about the NAM’s work over the past six months. Here is a condensed interview.
The plan: The NAM’s three watchwords throughout the pandemic have been “response, recovery and renewal”—in that order, says Newhouse.
- “The response phase focused on immediate health care needs like PPE; the recovery phase centered around businesses’ reopening needs and support for employees; and our long-term renewal efforts worked to strengthen the overall sector and economy.”
- The first few months were occupied with response and recovery, but by late summer, policymakers started thinking about long-term renewal, Newhouse explains.
- The NAM worked out a broad program of reform, which included onshoring and reshoring policies. “That’s actually a conversation we’ve been driving for a long time, because the U.S. should be the best place in the world to manufacture.”
What’s next? Manufacturing continues to struggle in this recovery phase, so policymakers need to do even more. As Newhouse put it, “A bipartisan stimulus package is important, and we hope Congress can come together with the administration to put additional liquidity into the economy, provide a safety net for employees, support the health care sector and create liability protections for businesses.”
How the NAM succeeded: Relationships were absolutely key, Newhouse says. “In this environment, with so much incoming and so little time, policymakers turned to people they trusted—and that included the NAM. This was a real test of the association’s strategy and credibility, and our hard work over the past few years paid off.”
He continued, “At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, [NAM President and CEO] Jay [Timmons] called for an all-hands approach. He challenged the NAM to rethink who we are and refocus to ensure we were being as effective as possible to meet the crisis. That’s exactly what we’ve done.”
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced today that it will offer an association health plan to its members, extending affordable health care to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies and member associations in approved states. In states where the association health plan is not available, the NAM will connect manufacturers with available small-group options in their state.
“This association health plan is another step in our work to make the NAM a one-stop shop for manufacturing across the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “With small and medium-sized businesses making up more than 90 percent of our membership, this plan will help provide health care and reduce uncertainty for workers and their employers across the country.”
The plan, called NAM Health Care (www.namhealthcare.com), was developed to meet manufacturers’ unique health care needs. It will offer a portfolio of health benefits options insured by UnitedHealthcare. In states where these plans are available, businesses with 2 to 99 employees will be able to choose from a variety of PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and HSA (Health Savings Account) health plans. Members will also have access to UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus care provider network of more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare will work with any licensed or appointed agents who want to sell NAM Health Care.
In addition, Mercer will provide the NAM’s small business members with consulting services regarding health benefits offerings and contribution strategies, marketing support to educate and enroll their employees, plan administration and compliance services. The Mercer Affinity 365+sm platform will provide members technology for quoting, enrollment and ongoing benefits administration to drive cost efficiencies and facilitate employee engagement.
Association health plans allow companies to band together to manage and purchase health care coverage that may save on annual health insurance costs by providing plans that are typically enjoyed by larger companies at a competitive price. Under NAM Health Care, eligible member companies also will have access to supplemental benefits, including dental, vision and life.
“The work that manufacturers are doing every day grows the economy and strengthens our country, and they deserve the health care they need to do that job with certainty and support,” said Timmons. “At the NAM, we are proud to help lower costs and increase competitive health coverage for the men and women who make things in America.”
NAM Health Care is quoting these plans for eligible member groups for a Sept. 1, 2019, enrollment date. To enroll in these plans, where available, interested businesses may visit www.namhealthcare.com.