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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com


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She got a forgivable loan. Her employees hate her for it.
Greg Iacurci / CNBC

Jamie Black-Lewis felt like she won the lottery after getting two forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Black-Lewis saw the $177,000 and $43,800 loans, one for each of the spas she owns in Washington state, as a lifeline she could use for payroll and other business expenses.

She’d halted pay for the 35 employees — including herself — at Oasis Medspa & Salon, in Woodinville, and Amai Day Spa, in Bothell, in mid-March, when nonessential businesses in Washington closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When Black-Lewis convened a virtual employee meeting to explain her good fortune, she expected jubilation and relief that paychecks would resume in full even though the staff — primarily hourly employees — couldn’t work.

She got a different reaction.

“It was a firestorm of hatred about the situation,” Black-Lewis said.

The anger came from employees who’d determined they’d make more money by collecting unemployment benefits than their normal paychecks.



The $600 Unemployment Booster Shot, State by State
By Ella Koeze / The New York Times

Before the coronavirus, people receiving unemployment benefits in most states got, on average, less than half their weekly salaries.

Now, as millions file claims, many are poised to receive more money than they would have typically earned in their jobs, thanks to the additional $600 a week set aside in the federal stimulus package for the unemployed.

That calculation is based on an analysis of the so-called replacement rate, which is the share of a worker’s wages that is replaced by unemployment benefits.

Workers in more than half of states will receive, on average, more in unemployment benefits than their normal salaries



How the Coronavirus Crisis Affects Parent Student Loans
Rebecca Safier / Student Loan Hero

With schools and businesses closed across the country, many people are facing unprecedented financial challenges. As a parent with student loans, you might be wondering about your options for coronavirus crisis relief. Fortunately, some recent measures could ease the burden of your debt during this difficult time — consider the following:

Interest and payments have been waived for 6 months
Collections efforts will temporarily cease

You can keep making progress toward loan forgiveness

Some private lenders are offering relief

You can keep paying if you prefer

Employers have a new incentive to help with student loan payoff

You could get a stimulus relief check, but not for college students



Trump administration is still garnishing wages from student loan borrowers
Annie Nova / CNBC

During the public health crisis, the U.S. Department of Education said it would stop garnishing the wages of defaulted student loan borrowers.

Yet some borrowers say the practice is still happening.

“They thought they were going to have some reprieve and a little more money in their bank account, and it’s nearly impossible to get answers about how to get this fixed,” said Seth Frotman, former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On March 25, the Trump administration announced that during the coronavirus pandemic it would stop garnishing the wages of struggling student loan borrowers.

“These are difficult times for many Americans, and we don’t want to do anything that will make it harder for them to make ends meet or create additional stress,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a statement. The historic $2 trillion stimulus package Congress later passed also put a pause on the garnishments.

However, nearly a month later, there are still borrowers who say they’re not getting their entire paychecks, due to a past-due student loan.

“We’ve now heard from dozens of borrowers who continue to see portions of their paychecks taken because they were behind on their student loans,” said Seth Frotman, former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center.



Scripta Insights Launches Free Drug Substitution Search Tool to Prepare for COVID-19 Drug Shortages
Scripta Insights / PRNewswire

Scripta Insights, a cloud-based healthcare IT solution that helps companies contain their pharmacy benefits spend while helping members get the Best Meds at the Right Price™, launched a Drug Substitution Search Tool today amidst growing concerns about prescription drug shortages that may arise due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. The tool offers alternative drug options that treat the same medical conditions as the medicines people may normally take to discuss with their doctors.

Scripta Insights, a cloud-based healthcare IT solution that helps companies contain their pharmacy benefits spend while helping members get the Best Meds at the Right Price™, launched a free Drug Substitution Search Tool today amidst growing concerns about prescription drug shortages that may arise due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.



3 Reasons Life Insurance is a Key Topic During COVID-19
Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP / LinkedIn Pulse

On January 22, 2020, a 30-year-old male in the state of Washington would become the very first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with COVID-19. That is exactly three months ago, and not many of us could have predicted how different our lives would become. During this time, the subject of life insurance has continued to increase as the media covers COVID-19’s effects on our lives and businesses.

So, what life insurance answers are consumers looking for from the media right now?

1. Whether a life insurance policy will pay out following a death due to COVID-19
2. How to obtain a life insurance policy during COVID-19
3. How to save money on life insurance



Why there may be a rush to buy LTC Insurance policies
Posted by Tom Riekse Jr / LTCI Partners

In conversations I've had with financial advisors, many of them are saying clients are taking a current financial inventory as well. Specifically, many people are worried about worst case scenarios and ways to "insure" against them - i.e. liquidity. They are counting up assets that are cash or cash equivalents. They are realizing the value of social security - a government lifetime income annuity that many people have access to. They are concerned about the loss of investments values in this volatile economy.
For the first time in many years, some are looking at their insurance situation, including life insurance, annuities, and long-term care insurance. Fear of an early death is tempered by owning life insurance, while the cash value provides additional stability and liquidity.

LTC Insurance, whether traditional or hybrid life/LTC, can play a significant protection role as well. Here are three ways an LTC Insurance plan helps during turbulent times:

Provides a well-defined pool of money that inflates over time to pay for care. You can even buy an unlimited benefit plan for "tail" coverage. LTCI coverage isn't subject to market whims - whatever policy benefit is projected in the future should be there.

Allows the rest of the investment portfolio to be invested more aggressively. If you estimate your potential LTC costs in retirement at age 80 to be $500K and you have a LTC policy with at least that benefit, you won't have to allocate other conservative, liquid resources to pay for care.

Maintains maximum flexibility in where care is provided. We've seen the sad stories of Coronavirus circulating through nursing homes. Although the pandemic will pass and facility care offers many advantages, LTC Insurance allows for the flexibility of care at home or in assisted living/skilled nursing homes.



Views 5 strategies to cut healthcare costs without cutting benefits
By Anthony D. Cellucci, Jr. / ebn

For employers, it’s been an ongoing battle to keep health insurance costs down without cutting employee health benefits. According to a PwC report, healthcare costs will remain a challenge in 2016 as costs are expected to outpace general economic inflation with a 4.5% growth rate.

There is no single culprit in the battle against rising healthcare costs; rather, there are many drivers contributing to the increase. Soaring prices for medical services, new costly prescription drugs and medical technologies, paying for volume over value, unhealthy lifestyles and a lack of transparency concerning prices and quality are all factors contributing to the spike in premiums.

So what can you do?

It can be a difficult juggling act to keep your health insurance premiums from financially squeezing your business, while also providing a robust benefits package for your employees. However, you may have more options for controlling your company’s healthcare costs than you realize. With the right knowledge and planning, there are ways to keep health insurance costs from derailing your company’s profits while also providing your workforce with the benefits they need.

Here are five strategies to cut costs without minimizing the benefits offered to employees:

1. Level-funding company healthcare costs.
2. Provide a proactive wellness initiative.
3. Implement tax-advantaged programs.
4. Use a flexible contribution arrangement (FSA).
5. Use deductible exposure mitigation vehicles (HRAs).






Archives

Monday - 04/20/20 - - Obamacare Insurers to Owe Estimated $2.7 Billion in Refunds

Tuesday - 04/21/20 - - Some life insurers hit pause on older Americans during coronavirus crisis

Wednesday - 04/22/20 - -  Companies who Embrace Remote Work will Replace Every Company who Doesn't

Thursday - 04-23-20 - - In Fine Print, HHS Seems To Have Banned Surprise Medical Bills During The Pandemic

Friday - 04-17-20 - - MassMutual pledges $3B in life insurance policies for healthcare workers



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
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com