Special Committee on Personal Insurance for Members

Daniel L. Rosenthal, chair

The primary function of the Personal Insurance for Members Committee is to provide oversight of the VSB-endorsed health, term life, and disability income insurance plans.  The Virginia State Bar has endorsed such plans for more than fifty years.  With the help of our broker-administrator, the Virginia State Bar Members’ Insurance Center (VSBMIC), the committee monitors the plans and the details of coverage offered.  The work of the committee and the administrator relieves member attorneys of the time and expense of finding insurance products on their own.

The most popular component of the VSB insurance program is health insurance with Anthem.  The enrollment of VSB members, staff members, and families approximates 5,700.  As a result of the endorsement by the VSB, enrollees receive “Value Added Benefits,” or extra benefits at no extra cost from Anthem.  Another important feature of this VSB health insurance program is the ability to offer “sole proprietor” group coverage. An exception has been made for the VSB and several other professional associations to offer such coverage. Ordinarily a minimum of two employees was required for group health insurance.  In 2014, however, Health Care Reform will only allow VSB members to maintain “group of one” coverage under limited circumstances.  The majority of these sole practitioners are being converted to individual products at their 2014 renewal date.

Unquestionably, the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act brought significant changes to health insurance in 2014.  The Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and is being implemented in stages.  VSBMIC spent much of 2013 and 2014 preparing attorneys and law firms for these changes.  Its president and staff wrote white papers, conducted webinars and had countless conversations with individuals and firms of various sizes discussing the effects of health care reform, and worked to tailor strategies for each.  With much confusion coupled with this complex legislation, VSB members were well served by VSBMIC’s ability to offer a variety of health insurance products from a multiple health insurers in addition to Anthem.

Roughly 625 people are covered by the VSB Group Term Life Plan and about 220 under the Group Disability Income Plan.  The committee is pleased to report that not only did the rates for the life insurance plan not increase during 2013, but for the past twenty-three years, VSB members have not seen an increase in the life insurance plan.  In fact, they have been the beneficiaries of several rate reductions. Regrettably though, for the first time in twenty-three years the VSB Disability Plan participants will receive a modest rate increase of 3.3 percent effective July 1, 2104.

Information about these VSB-endorsed insurance plans can be found online at http://www.vsbmic.com.

I would like to express my appreciation to my vice chair, Anne Hill, and other committee members, Raymond Benzinger, Cecil Creasey Jr., Pamela Gavin, Leslie Hoffman, John LaGow, Gary Lonergan, and Carol Russek for their participation and commitment to the work of the committee.  I would also like to thank VSB Deputy Executive Director Mary Yancey Spencer for her advice and assistance to the committee and Stephanie Blanton, VSB records manager/executive assistant, for her administrative support of our work.

Updated: Jul 01, 2014