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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.
  Friday, 04/12/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

How your health care would change under "Medicare for All"

Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" push has upended Democratic politics almost as thoroughly as it would upend the health care system.

Why it matters: The coverage most of us are used to — private insurance through the workplace — would change or even disappear under Medicare for All. The only question Democrats are really debating is how far to go, and how quickly.

If something like Sanders’ bill did become law, it would “leapfrog the rest of the world,” as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt put it.

It would be the most robust system in the world, and one of the most centralized — a sea change from today's largely privatized patchwork.

What it would mean for you: Sanders’ plan would move almost everyone — whether you’re on Medicare or Medicaid, or buy insurance on your own through the Affordable Care Act, or get it through your job — into a single government-run program.

You could not keep your existing plan.

You could keep your doctor. When the Affordable Care Act made some people switch doctors, it's because they had to switch insurance plans, and each plan has its own network of doctors and hospitals. With a single national plan, though, there are no networks.

Coverage would be incredibly generous. Sanders' program would cover just about everything, including vision and dental, all with no premiums and no out-of-pocket costs (like copays and deductibles) — unlike today's private insurance.

Taxes would go up. A lot. That’s the tradeoff for eliminating premiums and deductibles. Sanders has not said which taxes he would raise.

Overall spending would be about the same as what we’re expected to spend under the status quo, according to multiple estimates. We'd just pay for it differently. Today's hodgepodge of premiums, copays and state and federal spending would all be rolled into one federal, taxpayer-funded program.

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Baby boomers face retirement crisis — little savings, high health costs and unrealistic expectations
Bob Pisani / CNBC

It’s National Retirement Planning Week, which means it’s time for another round of depressing stats about how unprepared we all are for retirement.

The Insured Retirement Institute, which represents the annuity industry, highlights all the problems facing boomers: too little savings, underestimating health costs and unrealistic expectations of how much retirement income they will need.
Home finances

April is National Financial Literacy Month, but this week is National Retirement Planning Week, which means it’s time for yet another round of depressing statistics about how unprepared we all are for retirement.

Our dose of depressing data comes courtesy of the Insured Retirement Institute, which represents the annuity industry. The group’s annual report, Boomer Expectations for Retirement, highlights all the problems: too little savings, underestimating health costs and unrealistic expectations of how much retirement income they will need.

Too little savings

The three “legs” of the retirement “stool” are Social Security, private pensions and personal savings. None is in great shape. The average Social Security check is $14,000 a year, hardly a cushy retirement. Only 23 percent of boomers ages 56-61 expect to receive income from a private company pension plan, and only 38 percent of older boomers expect a pension. As for personal savings, I’ll make it simple: Most boomers have not saved nearly enough. In the worst case, it is really bad: 45% of boomers have zero savings for retirement.

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Albertsons Extends BridgeHealth Surgery Benefit to 30K Employees
Now 30,000 Albertsons employees have access to BridgeHealth's surgery benefit, following a year-long pilot
Progressive GROCER

Albertsons Cos. has beefed up its employee benefits package by expanding associates’ access to BridgeHealth, a Denver-based provider of value-based health care services.

The grocer identified BridgeHealth as a way to control the cost of expensive surgeries while boosting employees’ health and wellness. A year-long pilot gave 7,000 Albertsons employees and dependents across four states access to top-ranked surgical centers at no cost to the employee. The pilot achieved a favorable ROI over the first 12 months, as well as significantly lower surgical complications and readmission rates, while achieving a 90 Net Promoter Score from participants.

Feds take down $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme in 'Operation Brace Yourself'
An international telemarketing network lured hundreds of thousands of elderly or disabled patients into a criminal scheme, prosecutors said.
Adiel Kaplan, Jay Blackman, Tom Costello and Sarah Ploss / NBC News

Two dozen people, including doctors and owners of medical equipment companies, were charged in a more than $1 billion Medicare scam, authorities said Tuesday.

Investigators uncovered the sprawling plot that targeted elderly and disabled people by setting them up with back, neck and knee braces that they didn't need, according to federal prosecutors.

Called Operation Brace Yourself, the investigation discovered that medical brace manufacturers were allegedly paying kickbacks and bribes to doctors working with fraudulent telemedicine companies in exchange for Medicare patient referrals for medically unnecessary braces.

The ill-gotten gains were then laundered through international shell companies and used to buy exotic cars, yachts and luxury real estate in the United States and overseas, prosecutors said.

Employee Benefits Programs Missing the Mark?

In a recent report from the Harvard Business School (The Caring Company) less than 25% of employers say that being a caregiver impacts the performance of employees. Wow, that’s simply obtuse when over 80% of employees surveyed said that caregiving had impacted their performance. 20% of those interviewed stated that being a caregiver hurt their careers. My own experiences with caregivers certainly bear witness to this. They simply hide their caregiving duties until the stress and exhaustion force them to quit.

What do employers know?

We can’t blame employers for not knowing what we don’t disclose. Employees may fear retribution, discrimination, loss of advancement opportunities, missed raises and bonuses.But if employers are truly in touch with their team, they can see the signs. According to the report “Employers identified unplanned absences and missed days of work (33%), late arrival at work (28%), and early departure from work (17%) as the top three behaviors that always undermine career progression. Those are all behaviors that frequently arise due to an employee’s need to respond to a caregiving obligation.“

SEC Chair Wants Private Fund Investing to 401(k) and IRAs

The chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, wants to level the playing field for retirement savers by letting 401(k) plan participants and holders of individual retirement accounts invest in private funds, according to news reports.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington earlier this week, Clayton said that private equity and other types of illiquid investments can deliver superior returns but aren’t available to individual investors the way they are to managers of traditional defined-benefit pension plans, according to InvestmentNews.

"That retirement money in the defined-contribution plan doesn’t have the same investment opportunities that a defined-benefit plan has, even though they’re both retirement dollars," Clayton said in an interview with David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of private equity firm the Carlyle Group, according to the publication.

Walmart wants more employees to use $1-a-day tuition benefit
Kathryn Mayer / EBN

Walmart is hoping to nearly triple the number of employees who take advantage of its nearly-free tuition benefits — close to 12,000 workers — by year-end, the retailer said.

More than 4,500 Walmart employees so far have enrolled in the retailer’s program, which it debuted last May. The program, through provider Guild Education, allows eligible employees to pay just $1 a day to earn a degree. All Walmart and Sam’s Club workers in the U.S. who have been with the company for 90 days are eligible. It applies to all part-time, full-time and salaried employees.

Pro Benefits Plus offers user-friendly approach to employee benefits
Video meeting presents employee options in English, Spanish
Phillip Moore / (Delaware) Cape Gazette

Pro Benefits Plus offers a variety of services that are catered to make sure all parties involved receive personalized and unique options making for a more transparent experience.

Enrollment Meeting on Demand is one facet of Pro Benefits Plus, a new business that focuses on problems that arise during the open enrollment period for health benefits.

The company uses an intuitive platform, taking advantage of technology to provide a more personalized experience when employees are trying to select the appropriate plan.

Employee benefits meetings, when employees gather in a room and options are presented to a large audience, do little to help people understand the details of various plans that are most important to each individual.

After two years of development, the Enrollment Meeting on Demand is operational. Pro Benefits Plus creates a video in a specific setting relevant to the company. Concise but very detailed, each video caters to a specific company’s benefit offerings and is presented in both English and Spanish. These videos are available at any time on any device so that employees can watch when they have time to focus, with the added benefit that they can watch with a spouse, advisor or someone familiar with the specific options a person may need.

Embroker raises $28 million to help businesses find the right insurance policies
KYLE WIGGERS / Venture Beat

Embroker, a digital insurance company based in San Francisco, today announced that it’s raised $28 million in a series B funding round led by Tola Capital, with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners, Bee Partners, Manulife Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners, and XL Innovate. It follows on the heels of a $12.2 million series A round in May 2016, and brings the startup’s total raised to $42 million.

The capital infusion will drive the expansion of Embroker’s platform well into the coming months, said CEO and founder Matt Miller, and it comes after a blockbuster year during which the company provided more than $1 billion in liability coverage to technology companies. (Embroker estimates that it currently works with more than 5% of all active VC-backed tech companies in the U.S., a share it’s projecting will double by year-end.) In 2018, it tripled revenue across its customer base of over 2,500 companies, moreover, and says it’s on track to more than double revenue in 2019.

401(k) lawsuit over Vanguard fees ends with $23.7 million settlement
Greg Iacurci / Investment News

Health insurer Anthem Inc., sued by employees who claimed its 401(k) retirement plan had excessive fees even though its provider was the Vanguard Group, has settled the case for $23.7 million.

Anthem's $7 billion 401(k) plan had 11 Vanguard mutual funds and a suite of Vanguard target-date collective investment trust funds, in addition to an Anthem common stock fund and two non-Vanguard mutual funds.

In addition to paying too much for record-keeping services, plaintiffs alleged plan participants paid "far higher" investment fees than they should have since there were lower-cost share classes and investment vehicles available for the funds.

Abry-backed THG buys employee benefits firm eBenefits
Iris Dorbian / PRNewswire

The Hilb Group, LLC (“THG”) announced today the acquisition of Connecticut-based eBenefits Group Northeast, LLC (“eBenefits”). The transaction became effective April 1, 2019.

Headquartered in Unionville, Connecticut, eBenefits is a full-service employee benefits firm providing solutions to businesses, non-profits and municipalities throughout the Northeast. eBenefits will continue to operate out of its current locations in Unionville and Wallingford.

Employee Benefits Firm RGEB Buys Valencia Consultancy
Mark Madler / San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Really Great Employee Benefits has acquired the assets, employees and clients of JorgensenHR.

Terms of the deal between RGEB, in Canoga Park, and Jorgensen, in Valencia, were not disclosed.

Jorgensen was founded in 1984 and offers human resources compliance and assessments, compensation studies and affirmative action plans among its consulting services to more than 125 companies.


Monday, 04/08/19 - Trump Is Being Vague About What He Wants to Replace Obamacare. But There Are Clues.

Tuesday, 04/09/19 - 'Medicare X': Bill to expand public health care introduced in Congress

Wednesday, 04/10/19 - How 60 of the nation’s biggest employers are uniting to fight the benefits status quo

Thursday, 04/11/19 -
Health-Care CEOs Made an Infuriating Amount of Money Last Year

Friday, 04/05/19 - OneDigital Health and Benefits Acquires Northwestern Benefit in Biggest Acquisition in Company History

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor