Daily Insurance Report

Tuesday,  03/09//21

Walt Podgurski

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Can we keep Medicare from being insolvent by 2024?
By Chris Farrell / MarketWatch / NextAvenue.org. / / Read Article

Even as America’s Balkanized healthcare system struggles to deal with the pandemic, the coronavirus lurks behind another looming crisis. Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is projected to become insolvent in 2024 or 2026 — just three to five years from now. Yet you probably haven’t heard about that.

Spending for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the 52.6 million Americans 65+, was expected to exceed revenue in the trust fund even before the pandemic. But COVID-19 has worsened Medicare’s finances because people losing their jobs has meant a drop in the program’s payroll-tax revenue. And last year’s COVID-19 relief CARES Act tapped $60 billion from the Medicare trust fund to help hospitals get through the pandemic. Meantime, Medicare rolls have been growing with the aging of the U.S. population.

With the insolvency clock ticking, the Biden administration and Congress will need to act soon. Medicare, along with Social Security, is the foundation of financial security for older Americans.





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InsurGrid raises pre-seed financing to help modernize legacy insurance agents
Natasha Mascarenhas / TechCrunch / / Read Article

Insurance agents spend hours handling paperwork and grabbing client information over the phone. A new seed-stage startup, InsurGrid, has developed a software solution to help ease the process, and make it easier for agents to serve existing clients — and secure new ones.

InsurGrid gives agents a personalized platform to collect information from clients, such as date of birth, driver’s license information and policy declaration. This platform helps agents avoid sitting on long calls or managing back-to-back emails, and instead gives them one spot to understand how all their different clients function. It is starting with property and casualty management.

The startup integrates with 85 insurance carriers, serving as the software layer instead of the provider. Using the InsurGrid platform, insurers can ask clients to upload information and within seconds be registered as a policyholder. This essentially turns into a living Rolodex that insurers can use to access information on the account, and offer quotes on a faster rate.



How to Banish Remote Worker Burnout—Sam Slade
Sam Slade, Business Contributor /  GOLOCAL PROV / / Read Article

When workers suffer from burnout, they’re often exhausted or mentally checked out from their job, lowering their productivity. They’re also more likely to take sick days and visit the ER and there’s a higher chance they’ll seek a different job as well.

While it may not be possible to eliminate work stress altogether, you can help combat burnout and the effects on both employees and your workplace with the following steps:

1. Ensure manageable expectations.
2. Communicate regularly.
3. Promote a work/life balance.
4. Provide mental health relief.
5. Inspire connections during the workday.




Lionrock is the only telehealth provider that works directly with employers, as well as their benefit brokers, to offer the robust level of care specifically required to effectively treat SUDs, formerly known as addiction. By pairing their other telehealth benefits with Lionrock’s programs, employers can now address their employees’ substance use disorders, a serious mental health issue impacting every industry across the country.

Lionrock pairs secure video conference-based treatment services with flexible schedules that fit busy people’s lives. This allows clients to meet their work and home responsibilities while getting the help they need from the privacy of home. It also costs a fraction of expensive inpatient treatment, making it a more practical option for many people.

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4 ways to increase employee engagement in a WFH world
By Saravanan Chettiar / EBN / / Read Article

Employees are more disengaged than ever before. This leads to issues such as lower productivity, less collaboration and dissatisfied workers who may leave the company. Employees working remotely have a multitude of distractions from work. Constant communication is key, and emails don’t work.

Companies have a responsibility to help employees navigate this new virtual world. Here are four ways our employer clients improved employee engagement and well-being:

1. Make company communication mobile
2. Check-in with employees
3. Virtual happy hours
4. Encourage company wellness programs



Insurance Still Top Factor Driving Healthcare Choices, But Online Reviews Grow in Importance, Study Finds
Mary Caffrey / Managed Healthcare EXECUTIVE / / Read Article

Half the health systems and 65% of doctors had no online reviews, which puts them at a disadvantage when millennials go shopping for healthcare.

Whether a provider accepts their insurance is still the leading factor for consumers selecting a doctor or hospital, but online reviews are rising in importance, especially among millennials, according to a new study.

Reputation, which this week released its 2021 Healthcare Reputation Report, found that insurance acceptance and location ranked first and second in importance among consumers making healthcare choices.

Once consumers have eliminated options that do not accept insurance or are too far away, online reputation and consumer reviews can make or break a decision, the report suggests. And that could be a problem for the 50% of health systems and 65% of physicians who had no online reviews.








Celebrity Deaths in 2020: And the Six Estate-Planning Lessons We Can Learn
Fairfield and Woods P.C. / JDSUPRA / / Read Article

As estate planners, we are often shocked to learn about wealthy celebrities who pass away without a will or trust. These wealthy celebrities had the financial resources to implement a comprehensive, up-to-date estate plan yet failed to do so before their deaths. So what went wrong? More importantly, what lessons can we learn from these high profile deaths? In this article, we analyze the estate planning mistakes and successes made by famous individuals in an effort to help educate others – famous or not – as to why good estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of your age or current health.



Amwins Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Worldwide Facilities
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Amwins Group, Inc. ("Amwins"), a global distributor of specialty insurance products and services, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Worldwide Facilities ("Worldwide"), the fourth-largest wholesale broker in the U.S. Worldwide broadens Amwins' specialty capabilities and expands its footprint, especially on the west coast.

"The acquisition of Worldwide is a watershed moment not just for Amwins, but the specialty distribution space," said Scott M. Purviance, Chief Executive Officer of Amwins. "Since the beginning, we've believed that scale and specialization are key to delivering for our clients. Over the last 19 years, we've been able to build an organization that stands out amongst the competition. With the addition of Worldwide to the Amwins family we are partnering with a very talented group of brokers and underwriters. Worldwide has a very similar culture to Amwins and has a significant employee ownership base. The combined firm will have over 1,025 employee shareholders owning 43% of the business."




Fewer than 1 in 5 Employers Offer Childcare Help

Arvorie provides a suite of benefits that enable employers of any size to sponsor childcare for all working parents in a tax-efficient way.

Arvorie’s proprietary childcare payment platform, enables employers to save up to 70% on their childcare contributions by accessing federal and state tax credits.
 
Register For a Complimentary online briefing to learn how Arvorie can leverage its platform to save employers and their employees money on their childcare spend .
 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 2021, 2:00 P.M. EST
 
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Wellness Coach Launches Slack App
MARTECH SERIES / / Read Article

First wellness app built for remote workers stuck at home to launch on Slack, the leading business communication platform
Wellness Coach, the startup offering an all-encompassing digital wellness platform and tools for 1,000_ companies globally, serves as the first wellness app built for remote workers stuck at home to launch on Slack©, the workplace collaboration hub that makes communication easier among team members. Starting February 22, 2021, teams can access and engage in wellness sessions directly within Slack channels.

“With the remote workforce, we don’t get the opportunity to move around the office building. We wanted to extend Wellness Coach to all those working either remote or hybrid workforce so they can move around, stretch, do breathing exercises, or get water break reminders within Slack,” said D Sharma, Wellness Coach Co-Founder and CEO.

By adding Wellness Coach to a Slack workspace, users can enjoy meditations, exercises that are five minutes or less and don’t require a mat or weights, stress-relief exercises for the neck and back, or inspirational affirmation. The app also provides reminders, customizable nudges to move around, and have a mental reset.



Betterment's 401(k) Partners with Zenefits to Strengthen Retirement Readiness and Financial Wellness for Small and Mid-sized Businesses
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Betterment's technology-led 401(k) provider today announced a partnership with Zenefits, a leading people operations platform that provides payroll, HR, and benefits solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Through this partnership, Zenefits customers will benefit from a full integration with the Betterment platform, providing seamless access to Betterment's industry-leading 401(k) plan and wider suite of employee financial wellness tools. Betterment's 401(k) offering will be available to customers via the Zenefits marketplace beginning March 3rd, 2021. Easy to implement and highly affordable, Betterment's 401(k) is positioned to be attractive to startups and businesses across various industries due to its low fees, seamless onboarding process, and intuitive user experience for both employers and employees.



IInsurance investigations recover nearly $1.4M for Mainers
Griffin Stockford (NEWS CENTER Maine) / / Read Article

Maine Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa announced Thursday that nearly $1.4 million was recovered for Maine consumers through investigations conducted by the Bureau’s consumer divisions in 2020.

Cases investigated each year by the Bureau involve a wide range of circumstances, ranging from complaints of improper billing, improper or delayed claims processing, improper denial of payment for medical treatment, and illegal insurance sales practices.

The Bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division, which deals with health, life, long-term care, Medicare supplement, annuities, and disability insurance, received 2,701 inquiries from consumers and 247 written complaints, resulting in $676,960 in recoveries, according to Cioppa.

According to Cioppa, the $818,000 in life insurance policies matched to Mainers in 2020 through the NAIC's Life Insurance Policy Locator brings the total matched to Maine consumers since the service began in 2017 to $2,389,970.



AmeriLife Acquires DFS Marketing
Partnership will enhance AmeriLife's annuity distribution capabilities
PRNewswire / / Read Article

AmeriLife Group, LLC ("AmeriLife"), a national leader in developing, marketing, and distributing annuity, life, and health insurance solutions, has acquired DFS Marketing, an FMO distributing annuity and life insurance through independent agents.

"DFS Marketing brings a lot of value to the table between their experienced management team and their strong presence in the annuity distribution space," said Scott R. Perry, Chairman and CEO of AmeriLife. "We are thrilled to have such a promising company join the AmeriLife family."

Based in Conroe, Texas, DFS Marketing was founded in 2011 with the goal of helping independent financial professionals and insurance agents grow their businesses. The company leverages a Sandler sales training platform to help agents improve their sales performance. The acquisition will expand AmeriLife's geographic footprint in Texas.





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Archives
Monday, 03/08/21 - - Health Insurance Hassles Aggravate Employees, Cost Employers Billions of Dollars

Tuesday, 03/02/21 - - Limiting Private Insurance Reimbursement to Medicare Rates Would Reduce Health Spending by About $350 Billion in 2021

Wednesday, 03-03-21 - - Annual workforce report reveals what insurance professionals want in 2021: flexibility, more time with clients and innovation

Thursday, 03-04-21 - -  16 Employee Perks To Attract And Retain Top Virtual Talent

Friday, 03-05-21 - - Sign-ups for Biden's Obamacare special enrollment period nearly triple
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