Daily Insurance Report  
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com

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Editorial Mission Statement: The goal of this publication is to provide readers a broad selection of what is being written about the insurance industry and related issues. Some articles may have a “tilt” towards a particular perspective one way or another. Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of any views or content; but report the various and differing views appearing in media.
  Friday, 05/17/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits.

The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.


Does 'Medicare for All' end private insurance? Depends which candidate you ask
Analysis: The issue of what exactly single-payer means has become a flashpoint in the race for the White House.
Benjy Sarlin / NBC News

"Medicare for All"? Or Medicare for all who want it?

Democrats running for president will need to decide which one they're supporting or risk ending up in the muddled situation Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., found herself in last weekend.

Harris made a decision early in the race to run on single-payer Medicare for All, specifically a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that would effectively replace existing private health insurance plans with a souped-up version of Medicare that covers more than the current program and requires no premiums or deductibles.

Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper at a town hall in January whether she really intended to ban people's existing private coverage in favor of this new Medicare plan, Harris didn't flinch.

"The idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don't have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require," Harris answered. "Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on."

On Sunday, speaking to Tapper again, Harris reiterated her support for the Medicare for All bill, but then turned to some more lawyer-like explanations of how she would deal with private insurance:



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HealthCare Remains Primary Concern For Voters, With Strong Support For 'Medicare-For-All'
JACK O'BRIEN / HealthLeaders

Healthcare is a top priority for American voters and there aren't dramatic differences by ideology, according to a new survey.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Thirty six percent of Americans ranked healthcare as the most important policy issue facing the nation's future. Seventy two percent of Americans responded that they were satisfied with the healthcare they received while only 44% indicated that they were satisfied with the healthcare other Americans were receiving.

Overall, 65% of respondents expressed support for Medicare for All, though only 23% said they felt "very well-informed" about the proposal.

Americans are most concerned with the future of healthcare and express a steady support of Medicare for All, though that backing is challenged when presented with certain factors, according to a Real Clear Politics poll released Wednesday morning.



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Gov. Kemp calls for insurance commissioner to resign following fraud indictment
Nicole Carr, Aaron Diamant / wsbtv.com

Channel 2 Action News has learned that Gov. Brian Kemp is calling for the resignation of the state’s insurance commissioner, who is under federal indictment on fraud charges.

The governor sent a letter to Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Jim Beck on Wednesday afternoon, saying the indictment handed up against him "severely undermines your ability to fulfill your obligation to the people of Georgia."

The governor ended his letter to Beck by saying, "I ask that you do what is right for our state and step down immediately."

The move comes one day after a 38-count federal indictment was filed against Beck, who was elected in November.

The charges stem from Beck's time as general manager of operations for the Georgia Underwriting Association.

Beck is accused of devising a scheme to defraud the association of more than $2 million.



Hello, Bennie: How Hershey is using AI to engage workers in benefits
Kathryn Mayer / Employee Benefit Adviser

Hershey may be old school when it comes to chocolate, but when it comes to benefits technology, the company is on the cutting edge.

The chocolate manufacturer recently joined the ranks of companies using AI to communicate with employees about their benefits. Working with its internal Digital Innovation lab, Hershey rolled out “Bennie the Bot” for its latest open enrollment after making changes to its health plans and realizing it needed employees to get more engaged in their benefits selections.

Powered by AI, the Alexa device aims to answer employees’ benefits questions and help guide workers to the right resources. The bot also works via text message and web chat. It can answer some 300 benefits-related questions and is being programmed to answer more, David Keys, Hershey’s director of global benefits, said last week during the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference in Orlando.

The company — along with partner Willis Towers Watson — last fall piloted the technology to about 1,800 employees in Hershey’s corporate office and one of its production facilities by putting eight devices throughout the two locations.



This CEO Thinks Traditional Life Insurance Can Be a Rip-Off — Does He Have a Better Alternative?
Gabrielle Olya / Yahoo finance

Peter Colis is the CEO of Ethos, a life insurance provider that allows clients to sign up online, quickly and simply. Prior to co-founding Ethos, Colis was the co-founder of Ovid Corp., an online life insurance exchange. Under his leadership, Ethos has raised $46.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, and the company was named one of CB Insight’s top Fintech startups of 2018.

He Wanted To Shake Up a Long-Standing Industry

Ethos was actually inspired by a personal experience my co-founder, Lingke Wang, had with a life insurance agent when he was just 20 years old. This agent convinced Lingke to purchase a permanent life insurance policy, which he quickly came to realize was not in his best interest. Years later while studying together at Stanford Business School, we recognized that he was not alone in his experience. The life insurance [industry] was in dire need of disruption.
We created Ethos to combat all of the things that typically deter people from purchasing life insurance through this often intimidating and confusing traditional model. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to protect their families through life insurance coverage, and at Ethos, we prioritize families through simple, affordable and accessible policies.



Greystar Management sued over its 401(k) plan’s investment fees
ROBERT STEYER / Pensions & Investments

A participant in a 401(k) plan offered by Greystar Management Services LP has sued the company, alleging plan executives violated their ERISA duties by offering investment options with "imprudent or excessive" fees.

Complaining about the plan's reliance on actively managed investments, the lawsuit contended that Greystar "could have chosen passively managed funds to offer even as an alternative" to participants.

"These passively managed funds would have resulted in significantly lower administrative fees yet generated comparable returns," said the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status.



Judge rips insurance company for 'immoral, barbaric' cancer denials
Wayne Drash / CNN

A federal judge blasted UnitedHealthcare last month for its "immoral and barbaric" denials of treatment for cancer patients. He made the comments in recusing himself from hearing a class-action lawsuit because of his own cancer battle -- and in so doing thrust himself into a heated debate in the oncology world.

At issue is a treatment known as proton beam therapy, an expensive alternative to standard radiation that proponents say is a more precise form of treatment with fewer side effects. Opponents have questioned whether proton therapy is worth the high cost to fight some forms of cancer, and insurance companies have often denied coverage for the treatment, calling it "experimental."

The case that came before US District Judge Robert N. Scola was brought by a prostate cancer survivor who alleged that UnitedHealthcare wrongfully denied him and thousands of others coverage of proton beam therapy.



California governor wants to help more buy health insurance
Associated Press / Modern Healthcare

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants California to become the first state to offer subsidies of about $100 a month to help people who earn as much as 600% of the federal poverty level pay for their insurance plans.

That means a family of four earning about $150,000 a year would qualify, as would individuals making around $72,000. The federal government only offers help up to 400% of the federal poverty line.

The proposal is part of Newsom's budget, which he's now negotiating with lawmakers.



Beyond Compliance: Auditing 401(k) Plans
FisherBroyles LLP / LEXOLOGY
401(k) audits are often worthwhile even when not required, however unpopular that recommendation may be. Audits (or even self-policing on the part of an employer) can provide excellent value for money spent in several key respects.

Adding Value and Credibility: The Importance of 401(k) Audits

Obviously, statutory compliance drives 401(k) audits, but their real importance rests on principles the regulatory framework is designed to translate into reality. These principles include adherence to required practices and procedures, administrative and financial consistency and reliability, present and future plan viability, clarity and efficacy of internal financial controls, and more.



  Archives

Monday, 05/13/19 - A lawsuit alleges that more than 100 generic drugs were included in a price-fixing scheme

Tuesday, 05/14/19 - Washington State to Offer Public Health Insurance Plans, Regardless of Income, by 2021

Wednesday, 05/15/19 - BREAKING: Georgia Insurance Commissioner indicted in fraud case

Thursday, 05/16/19 - RAND Study: Hospitals Charging The Privately Insured 2.4 Times What They Charge Medicare Patients

Friday, 05/10/19 - Blackstone aims to become insurance powerhouse - WSJ


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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com