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

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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.
  Monday, 10/21/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

Employee benefits insurance distribution is stuck in the past. It’s time to modernize it.
By Ryan Sachtjen

In the age of big data, most employee benefits are still bought and sold in a painfully antiquated mode that levies undue costs on everyone involved.

The process is powered by onerous email exchanges, dense PDF documents and numerous layers of manual transcription. It’s a system plagued by inefficiency and human error, where transactions bog down brokers and carriers alike. Even worse, the outdated methods frequently fail to deliver employers and employees the insurance coverage that best fits their needs — an unacceptable outcome.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

The time has come to overhaul the employee insurance sales process to one based in modern technology, freeing brokers to advise adroitly and carriers to sell efficiently. The tools exist to replace outdated methods, and the brokers and carriers who adapt quickly stand to win big in a new normal powered by data and the insights it unlocks.


"LIFT OFF,” Your Weekly Digest Of Employee Benefits

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10/21/19 - Subscribe

Americans like their healthcare but worry about affordability
By Lisa Burden / HR DIVE

Most Americans are satisfied with their healthcare but worry about the cost, according to a survey by Transamerica Center for Health Studies. Eighty-four percent say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their healthcare but more than one-quarter — 27% — said they canceled an appointment because of cost. The study, an online survey composed of 3,760 U.S. adults, ages 18-64, was conducted from August 7 to August 19, 2019.

Most Americans think that the government should act to rein in prescription drug prices. More than three quarters think the government should be allowed to negotiate prescription drug prices, and almost a quarter said they had not taken a medication that had been prescribed in the last 12 months because of the cost.

Employer-provided health care matters, according to the survey respondents. Sixty-one percent of respondents said healthcare benefits are very important to their job satisfaction, second only to salary/pay, which came in at 72%. A little over half of those surveyed said they were staying at a job for health coverage. Almost a third — 30% — said they had to leave a job because their company did not offer health insurance.

Medicare ACOs Generated $1.7 Billion in Savings Last Year
Managed Healthcare EXECUTIVE

The Medicare Shared Savings Program, the accountable care organization (ACO) model serving nearly 11 million seniors and the dominant value-based care program in Medicare, continued lowered the rate of Medicare spending while providing high-quality care, according to 2018 performance data released by CMS.

ACOs collectively saved Medicare $1.7 billion last year alone, and $739 million after accounting for shared savings bonuses and collecting shared loss payments. The results continue a growing trend of the Medicare ACO program saving money, CMS reports. Results for all 2018 Shared Savings Program ACOs, which compare the year’s spending to pre-set spending targets, are available in an online public use data file.

“These numbers put to rest any notion that ACO savings are ‘modest’ and illustrate the strong performance of the leading Medicare alternative payment model,” says Clif Gaus, Sc.D., president and CEO of the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS). “Given time, we know ACOs save money and provide benefit for patients and taxpayers.

Massachusetts governor unveils healthcare legislation to cut costs, boost care access for patients
Kelly Gooch - BECKER'S Hospital CFO Report

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker introduced extensive healthcare legislation Oct. 18 that would address surprise medical bills, limit when hospitals can charge a facility fee at a hospital outpatient department, and require hospitals and insurers to increase spending on behavioral health and primary care, according to The Boston Globe.

The governor's administration said in a news release that the proposed legislation aims to improve patient outcomes, increase care access and reduce healthcare costs, including out-of-pocket costs.

A recent report by the Center for Health Information and Analysis found out-of-pocket costs and premiums for fully-insured plans grew 6.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, between 2016 and 2018. The center said this is about twice the rate of inflation and wages.

To reduce out-of-pocket costs, the proposed legislation bans surprise medical bills for out-of-network emergency and unplanned services rendered at an in-network facility, according to the governor's administration. It would also limit when a hospital can charge a facility fee at a hospital outpatient department, with a focus on how close a hospital clinic is to the hospital's main campus.

The governor's office said the proposed legislation also requires that pharmacies provide notification to people about their lowest out-of-pocket cost options for prescription drugs at their prescription pick-up time.

Allina Health to pay $2.4 million to DC participants under proposed settlement

Allina Health will pay $2.4 million to DC plan participants under a proposed settlement in an ERISA lawsuit.

Participants in a 401(k) plan and a 403(b) plan run by Allina Health System, Minneapolis, have announced a proposed settlement in an ERISA lawsuit in which Allina will pay $2.4 million to address breach-of-fiduciary-duty allegations.

The proposed settlement, which requires court approval, was filed Oct. 16 in a U.S. District Court in Minneapolis in the case of Larson et al. vs. Allina Health System et al. Allina denies any liability or wrongdoing, the settlement notice said.

The participants filed a class-action suit in August 2017, arguing that plan executives violated their fiduciary duties by making an agreement with Fidelity Management Trust resulting in many Fidelity investments "instead of making selections based on whether the fund was a prudent investment," the document said. Fidelity Investments, the plans' record keeper, was not a defendant.

Eight Nontraditional Estate Planning Tips For Finance Pros And Their Clients
Forbes Finance Council

Financial advisors have been overseeing estate planning and asset management for their clients for centuries. In recent years, however, the introduction of new asset types and the implementation of new laws has made it necessary for finance pros and their clients to expand their knowledge and stay on top of trends if they want to make the best decisions.

With technology and intenational law changing the game faster than ever before, finance professionals and their clients may overlook certain important considerations that weren’t on the radar just a few years ago. Below, eight experts from Forbes Finance Council detail some new considerations financial pros and their clients should remember when it comes to estate planning and asset management.

1. Plan For Estate Tax
2. Fund Your Living Trust
3. Check Your Options Before Letting Life Insurance Lapse
4. Keep Track Of Important Passwords
5. Keep Things Simple
6. Donate To Favorite Causes
7. Increase Your Beneficiaries’ Tax-Free Income Through An Inherited Roth
8. Consider a Trust Protector


Monday, 10/07/19 - Trump administration plans to delay any changes if the ACA loses in court

Tuesday, 10/15/19 -
Insurance brokerage steers future toward consulting

Wednesday, 10/16/19 - Handful of states mull getting off HealthCare.gov for their own exchanges

Thursday, 10/17/19 -
Not having long-term care insurance can be ‘the single biggest devastator’ of your financial plan

Friday, 10/18/19 - 
Amazon experiments with travel benefit for employee health care

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor