Monday, 01/17/22
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Walt Podgurski, Editor


10 Highly Beneficial Services For Employee Wellness
Forbes Human Resources Council / Forbes  / / Read Article

More and more companies today are making it a point to focus on the overall well-being of their employees. It has been proven that the most successful and ambitious professionals make self-care a priority. If you aren't taking care of yourself, you won't be able to operate at your fullest potential, it's that simple. As the Covid-19 pandemic made remote work commonplace for most businesses, professionals in nearly every industry had to adapt to juggling their home and family lives with their careers.

Many companies made adjustments to their employee wellness programs to accommodate these lifestyle changes. As they did, many of them realized that these implementations would remain beneficial even as pandemic-enforced restrictions were lifted. Here, 10 professionals from Forbes Human Resources Council discuss the most beneficial services in their employee wellness programs and why they have been appreciated throughout the pandemic.

1. Corporate Fitness Subsidies
2. On-Demand Pay
3. Diverse Health Benefits
4. Unlimited PTO, Forced Time Off
5. Well-Being Weeks With Themes
6. Vacation Leave Conversion
7. Meeting-Free Lunch, Early Fridays
8. Summer Schedule Program
9. Mental Health Assistance
10. Personal Investment Fund

Health insurers must pay for your at-home Covid tests as of Jan. 15—here’s how to get reimbursed
Mike Winterss  / / Read Article

Starting Saturday, private insurers must cover the cost of up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests per month, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday.

“We are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, in a statement.

Covid tests purchased after Jan. 15 will be covered by almost all private insurers, but there are other ways you can currently get free tests, too.

You’re now entitled to up to eight over-the-counter at-home tests per month, which must be fully reimbursed by your insurance company, with no deductibles or cost-sharing. Packages that include multiple tests will be considered a single test for the purpose of reimbursement.

Transcarent Raises $200 Million in Series C Funding Highlighting Growing Demand for a Different Health and Care Experience Aligned with the Needs of Self-Insured Employers
BUSINESS WIRE  / / Read Article

Transcarent, a new and different health and care experience company for employees of self-insured employers and their families, today announced a $200 million Series C investment led by Kinnevik and Human Capital, with participation from Ally Bridge Group and leading health systems including Northwell Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and Rush University Medical Center. The funding round also included participation from existing investors, including General Catalyst, 7wireVentures, Alta Partners, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Jove Equity Partners, Threshold Ventures, and GreatPoint Ventures.

This round brings Transcarent’s total funding raised to $298 million in just over one year and highlights the growing demand from self-insured employers for Transcarent’s new and different approach to managing care for their employees and their families and the strong interest of innovative health delivery systems to explore new payment models.

Transcarent serves as the on-ramp for self-insured employers and their employees to a new kind of experience unlike anything in healthcare today. Transcarent provides personalized health and care support for virtually all of the most common and most challenging needs, including not just essentials like urgent care but also including lower cost medications, personalized behavioral health symptom evaluation and support, along with, where appropriate, specialty care like surgeries, care at home, cancer, and expert second opinions. Members get 24/7 access to trusted digital and live guidance (real humans) and direct access to high-value care. Most Members receive no bills nor are they responsible for co-pays and co-insurance. This is because Transcarent offers what no other company does today - a fully at-risk model which pays providers up-front for care and partners with employers without any up-front or per-employee-per-month (PEPM) fees.

National Medicare Insurance Industry Conference Acquired
Connectiv Holdings and Insurance Forums Acquire National Medicare Insurance Industry Conference  / / Read Article

Two highly regarded, insurance industry focused companies announced today the acquisition of the National Medicare Insurance Industry Conference created by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance.

The annual conference is recognized as the leading national event for the Medicare Supplement industry. First held in 2006, the conference brings together those active in the pricing, administration, marketing and selling of Medicare insurance solutions and in recent years has included many important companies in the broader Medicare ecosystem.

“The Medicare insurance industry continues to grow exponentially and plays a pivotal role in society. We are committed to further developing this important event and making it even more valuable for attendees,” says Jay Weintraub, CEO and founder of Connectiv Holdings, the primary acquiring company. Connectiv Holdings has a rich history of building industry leading events beginning with LeadsCon in 2008. It is known for creating InsurTech Connect, the world’s largest gathering for insurance innovation with more than 7,000 people, and their portfolio also includes HR Transform, Blueprint, and Manifest, covering the future of work, real estate tech, and logistics tech respectively.

Health Benefits Budgeting Can Be a Challenge
Reported by REBECCA MOORE / PLANSPONSOR  / / Read Article

IN 2020, THE DELAY IN MEDICAL CARE created by the COVID-19 pandemic decreased health care costs for employers that use plans provided by carriers (i.e., that are fully insured), as well as employers that self-insure health care for employees.

According to the Business Group on Health’s “2022 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey,” in 2020, the overall health care cost trend was 0%, though some employers experienced a negative trend.

Employers expected a rebound in 2021, anticipating that employees would return to normal care.

“When budgeting for health care benefit costs in 2021, employers anticipated their costs would go back to normal, but the spread of the Delta variant impacted working populations,” notes Arthur Hall, senior vice president and employee benefits national practice leader at USI Insurance Services. “Both fully insured and self-funded plan sponsors paid a little more than budgeted.”

Hall says the changing developments with the virus are creating a challenge for health benefits budgeting.

“Employers that have set their budgets for 2022 now don’t know what the Omicron variant will do,” he says. “If there’s a high incidence of infection but low severity, the budgets may be fine. It also depends on how many employees in an employer’s workforce are vaccinated.”

Life Insurance Pioneer Ethos Adds Wills, Trusts Through Acquisition of Legaltech Innovator Tomorrow Ideas
Ethos / PRNewswire  / / Read Article

Ethos, the largest term life insurance provider in the U.S., has completed its acquisition of Seattle startup Tomorrow, which democratizes access to critical financial instruments such as legal wills and trusts, for free.

Tomorrow's platform makes wills and trusts accessible and affordable for everyday American families through its iOS app and web experience, offering legal instruments similar to those an affluent population typically gets from an estate attorney. Ethos' acquisition of Tomorrow continues its commitment to helping families protect what matters most and prepare for the future.

High Street Insurance Partners Successfully Acquires Southeastern Agency Group.
High Street Insurance Partners / PRNewswire  / / Read Article

High Street Insurance Partners ("HSIP") announced its December acquisition of Southeastern Agency Group (SAG), a full-service insurance firm based in Greensboro, North Carolina.

This acquisition is one of 17 finalized in December, making HSIP one of the most active brokerage firms in 2021, in terms of acquisitions. HSIP has acquired 97 agencies in just three years. The firm has a geographical footprint that includes 23 states.

Premier Inc.’s Contigo Health Expands Provider-Sponsored Health Plan Offerings Through New Partnership With OhioHealthy
BUSINESS WIRE  / / Read Article

Contigo Health LLC, a subsidiary of Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC), a leading technology-driven healthcare improvement company, today announced a new partnership with OhioHealthy Plans, LLC (OhioHealthy). As part of this agreement, Contigo Health, which collaborates with providers and employers to deliver products that offer health plan members the best possible care, will serve approximately 43,000 OhioHealthy members.

“We are excited to begin this work as it demonstrates Contigo Health’s mission to bring providers and employers together in a frictionless manner to improve the health of communities across the country. We look forward to supporting OhioHealthy’s business and health plan operations.”

OhioHealthy will leverage Contigo Health’s third-party administrator business process operations (TPA BPO) offering to help its members access more affordable, high-quality healthcare. Contigo Health’s product provides all core administrative and clinical support services, including health plan management, customer service, network administration and support. Contigo Health will also deploy its extensive analytics capabilities. Contigo Health’s care management platform will be accessed by its own and OhioHealthy’s clinical staff to monitor and manage utilization and help ensure effective collaboration between them.


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Monday, 01/10/22 - Mental Health, Digital Solutions Top List of Employee Wellness Trends for 2022, According to Wellable Labs Report

Tuesday, 01/11/22 - 'Huge, huge numbers:' insurance group sees death rates up 40 percent over pre-pandemic levels

Wednesday, 01/12/22 - Biden Requires Insurance Companies To Cover Free At-Home Covid Tests Starting This Weekend

Thursday, 01/13/22 - Washington State’s Celebrated Long Term Care Program Is Headed Towards Trouble

Friday, 01/14/22 - Healthcare sharing ministry 'sham' faces suit for allegedly defrauding consumers in California

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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.