Daily Insurance Report     Monday, 09/28/20

Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 


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Trump ‘Affirms’ Preexisting Condition Protections Enacted By Obamacare
KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that he claims preserve the Affordable Care Act's popular protections for people with preexisting conditions while his administration supports a case headed to the Supreme Court that could dismantle the health law. The president's actions around Obamacare have been a focus of election-year criticism.

Trump Court pick Amy Coney Barrett's past critiques on Obamacare face scrutiny
By Heidi Przybyla, Sahil Kapur and Allan Smith / NBC News

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s newly announced Supreme Court nominee, whose appointment could cement a conservative court majority for a generation, is on record criticizing past judicial decisions upholding the Affordable Care Act.

“For Justice Scalia and those who share his commitment to uphold text, the measure of a court is its fair-minded application of the rule of law, which means going where the law leads. By this measure, it is illegitimate for the Court to distort either the Constitution or a statute to achieve what it deems a preferable result,” Barrett wrote in the January 2017 article.

Regarding a 2012 ruling upholding the law’s individual mandate by a 5-to-4 margin, Barrett also criticized Chief Justice John Roberts, saying he had “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

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11 things Trump has done to fix Obamacare
By Brian Blase / New York Post

Democrats complain that President Trump doesn’t have a plan to replace ObamaCare — but he has improved and fixed the disastrous policy.

Democrats complain that President Trump doesn't have a plan to replace ObamaCare, but he has actually expanded coverage for millions.

President Trump will face off with former Vice President Joe Biden in the first presidential debate this week, where health care is bound to come up. While Democrats often attack Trump for a lack of a health-care plan, the truth is, his administration has significantly increased Americans’ choice of health coverage and improved access to care. In fact, Trump should be proud to campaign on his health-care record.

Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act passes House
Bill repeals McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies
By Jennifer Garvin / ADA

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 21 voted to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies by passing HR 1418, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act.

“The ADA is thrilled that the House of Representatives has voted in favor of the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act,” said ADA President Chad P. Gehani. “This bill is necessary to allow federal enforcement of a full range of federal antitrust laws against insurance companies engaged in anti-competitive behavior. This bill is all about fairness to the public we serve. It will help level the playing field for patients, providers and insurance companies in a fair and transparent marketplace.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers reach $2.7 billion settlement deal of antitrust suit--WSJ
By Tomi Kilgore / MarketWatch

Blue Cross Blue Shield has reached a tentative agreement, which would require the insurance group to pay $2.7 billion, to settle an antitrust suit filed on behalf of its customers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the agreement would also require the insurance group to curtail practices that allegedly limited competition among its three dozen member companies, the WSJ report said. Although the Blue Cross Blue Shied Association has signed off on settlement deal, it has not yet been approved by the boards of all 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers, the report said.

Few in U.S. owned stocks outside of 401(k)s in 2019, fewer said market had a big impact on their view of economy
BY RUTH IGIELNIK / Pew Research Center

As analysts start to consider what an economic recovery might look like and who is likely to benefit, disparities across income groups in the United States come into stark relief – particularly when it comes to those who own stocks and those who do not.

About one-third of U.S. adults (35%) said they personally owned stocks, bonds or mutual funds outside of retirement accounts in a Pew Research Center survey from September 2019. And upper-income Americans were much more likely than lower-income Americans to be invested in the market.

That same survey found that more Americans said wages, the availability of jobs and the cost of health care mattered in their assessment about how the economy is doing, rather than how the stock market is performing.

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How the Healthcare Industry, Worker Roles will Evolve as a Result of COVID-19
John Danaher / Managed Healthcare EXECUTIVE

As a result of COVID-19, interactions between patients and their clinicians has significantly changed. Social distancing protocols combined with patients feeling hesitant to enter medical buildings for non-urgent matters, has led to an accelerated demand for telehealth solutions that is expected to continue well after the pandemic resolves itself. Now is the time for healthcare professionals to become more familiar with virtual, on-demand care through training and education.

Physicians and nurses will need to fully embrace virtual training and education to develop new skills that will allow them to connect with patients remotely in a meaningful way. Sophisticated, virtual learning modules and simulations provide healthcare workers with the skills to deliver the same level of patient care virtually as they would in-person.

Trader Joe’s Beats Would-be Class Suit Over 401(k) Plan Fees
Bloomberg Law
Employer need not offer cheapest possible funds, judge says
Dozens of companies sued this year over 401(k) fees

Trader Joe’s Co. defeated a lawsuit challenging its 401(k) plan fees after a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Friday that allegations of “higher cost” mutual funds don’t support a claim of fiduciary breach under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

When a retirement plan offers a diversified menu of investment options, “the fact that some other funds might offer lower expense ratios is not relevant,” Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said.

Introducing Wayne Goshkarian, President of
Dylan Consulting, and this is what he has found:
  • Products have changed for the better for the employee.
  • Technology has advanced to offer coverage including benefit communication and online enrollment, and to track almost anything you want.

$400M team leaves Northwestern Mutual to open RIA with Dynasty
By Jessica Mathews / Financial Planning

A $400 million advisor duo is leaving Northwestern Mutual, where they’ve spent the entirety of their career, to open an RIA.

“We wanted more flexibility and a quicker response time to adjusting our operational technology and our client-facing technology,” said one of the advisors, Michael Leverty, in an email.

This is the first move for Leverty, who started his career at Northwestern Mutual 18 years ago as a college intern, he said. He and fellow advisor Luke Keene, who was at Northwestern Mutual for 12 years, partnered with Dynasty Financial Partners to open up their own firm. There are five other people in their team.

Dynasty, which works with 46 firms, charges a platform fee in exchange for operational and back office support — a cost that is then included in clients’ annual investment management fee, according to the RIA’s Form ADV. Leverty Financial Group will use Dynasty’s TAMP as well, the ADV says.

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.
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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor