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Thursday 04/29/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Wheels begin turning in $2.7B Blue Cross Blue Shield antitrust settlement process
BY JOE GARDYASZ, Senior Staff Writer / Business Record / / Read Article

Millions of Blue Cross Blue Shield members across the country, including present and past Wellmark policyholders in Iowa over the past 12 years, may be entitled to a stake in a $2.7 billion antitrust settlement that was reached by 35 Blues companies and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association last fall.

Wellmark policyholders began receiving notifications by mail this month regarding the class-action settlement, which in addition to compensating policyholders for alleged anticompetitive measures requires the companies to amend some of their business practices and alliances with other Blues members.

The settlement, negotiated between Blue Cross Blue Shield and a plaintiffs’ group late last year, resolved seven years of litigation in a case brought in federal court in Alabama, which alleged that the Blue Cross companies benefited from anticompetitive tactics that included dividing up markets between the group’s numerous partners and member companies.

Wireless carriers wade into telehealth
By ELISE REUTER / MedCity News / / Read Article

Verizon rolled out a telehealth service after acquiring video conferencing platform BlueJeans last year. Photo credit: Verizon

A handful of wireless carriers are testing out new telehealth efforts. In the last month, Verizon and T-Mobile have dipped their toes into telehealth through partnerships and acquisitions.

Earlier this month, Verizon shared it had rolled out a telehealth service based on video conferencing platform BlueJeans, which it bought for about $400 million last year. Similar to Zoom’s efforts to position itself as a telehealth platform, the idea was to build a service that healthcare providers could use for video visits.

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Since launching in late 2017, LeggUP has helped organizations unlock employee potential and supported the expanded role of HR leaders turning their attention back towards people and culture development.

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Thursday, May 6th, 2021, 2:00 p.m. EDT

The frantic rise of consumer wellness: Combat the craze or ride the wave?
By Sara Martin, Heath Shackleford / ebn / / Read Article

Wellness is currently en vogue, and in a very big way. Companies of all kinds want in on the gold rush. To put things into perspective, the global wellness economy is currently valued at $4.5 trillion, based on 2018 data. The vast majority of this value is generated by consumer products versus corporate solutions.

In fact, workplace wellness only accounted for $48 billion of this total, which even trailed Thermal/Mineral Springs (a $56 billion segment). Not surprisingly, workplace wellness was light years behind the beauty and anti-aging, weight loss and physical fitness sectors.

While employees resist screenings, dodge health coaching calls and neglect wellness portals, they are actively consuming everything from CBD to essential oils to celery juice and even vampire facials. While corporate wellness programs struggle to successfully bribe individuals with premium differentials, gift cards and gym memberships, many of the same individuals are voluntarily shelling out hundreds and thousands of dollars in hard-earned cash for Peloton bikes, on-demand fitness courses, sound baths and plant-based cookbooks. Hey, as long as employees are getting healthier, it’s all good. Right? National health statistics alone are enough to prove this is fiction, not fact. Despite the consumer wellness craze, our workforces are less healthy than ever.

Watch: What Happens When Car and Health Insurance Collide
KHN / / Read Article

“CBS This Morning,” in collaboration with KHN and NPR, tells the story of Mark Gottlieb, a marketing consultant in Little Ferry, New Jersey, who faced more than $700,000 in medical bills after surgery on his spine. Gottlieb was injured in a car accident, and, despite having the maximum amount of personal injury protection in his car insurance policy, his medical bills exceeded it. His health insurance could not help much, because his surgeon was out-of-network. In an interview with Anthony Mason of CBS, KHN Editor-in-Chief Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal describes some of the pitfalls accident victims can try to avoid as they seek care.

Employee Financial Wellness Can’t Wait Any Longer—Here’s Why
There's no better benefit to add in 2021
by Brian Hamilton / 401K Specialist / / Read Article

The 2021 SmartDollar Financial Wellness Benefits Study, conducted by Ramsey Solutions, looks at survey data from benefits decision-makers in more than 1,000 companies of all sizes across the U.S.

Employees need help with their money, and it’s up to their employers to help them. And after a comprehensive deep dive into the world of benefits, the study found that employers have never been better positioned to help their employees than they are right now through the power of financial wellness. But that’s not all the study found.

The impact a financial wellness benefit can have on companies and their employees is not just measurably significant—it’s timely. So many employees are still shaken up by the year they just had. If companies care about their employees and want to add value to their lives for the long term, then there’s no better benefit to add than one that teaches them how to follow a budget, get out of debt, save for the future, and retire with confidence. There’s no better benefit to add in 2021 than financial wellness. It just can’t wait any longer.

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Employers, fed up with insurance companies, turn to ASCs
Laura Dyrda / BECKER'S ASC REVIEW / / Read Article

Employers are increasingly interested in direct contracting with surgery centers through regional and national contracts, and ASCs are ready partners as high quality, low cost sites of care.

"As the cost of healthcare benefits for employees continues to rise, we are seeing continued requests for contracts that allow employers to provide high quality care services to their employees at a significant cost savings to the employer," said Mike Grant, administrator of Surgery Center of Amarillo (Texas).

Direct-to-employer contracting can provide an additional revenue stream for physicians and surgery centers, especially if commercial payers are narrowing their networks and lowering reimbursement rates.

"ASCs that have an ability to bundle their services for specific procedures will have the opportunity to negotiate directly with self-insured employers, enabling their employees to get concierge-type services at reduced rates. By doing so, employers will reduce their loss time injuries and ensure that their employees receive high quality services in a controlled environment," said Christina Goodall, RN, DNP, administrator of Atlanta Orthopedic Institute.

How Can HSAs Be Framed As Retirement Savings Vehicles?
There are different needs competing for employees’ savings, but employers that want to promote savings in HSAs have several ways to do so.

A survey from Further, a national health savings administrator, found 65% of consumers report leveraging their health savings account (HSA) as a spending resource, with 23% stating they use their account equally for saving and spending. Yet more than two-thirds of employers said they associate HSAs with savings only, suggesting a gap in how employers are positioning these accounts compared with how employees are using them.

David Speier, managing director of benefits accounts at Willis Towers Watson in Washington, D.C., said, “[HSAs] are tied to plans with higher deductibles; employees have spending needs and they are already saving in retirement accounts. We see in all our data that pure savers are a small fraction of overall account holders. When more are living paycheck to paycheck, there will be more spenders, not savers.”

Why Every Uber or Lyft Driver Needs Rideshare Insurance
Laura Leavitt / NextAdvisor / / Read Article

Rideshare insurance provides protection for rideshare drivers in the event of an accident or expenses associated with damage or healthcare costs. Some of these expenses are covered by rideshare companies’ own insurance policies, but others are not. Let’s break it down.

The insurance industry divides rideshare insurance coverage into three periods of time:

Period 1 occurs when you have the app turned on but haven’t accepted a ride.
Period 2 occurs when you’ve accepted a ride and are en route to pick up the rider.
Period 3 occurs when you have the rider in your car.

Uber and Lyft have substantial coverage available during Periods 2 and 3. However, in many cases, Period 1 is very minimally covered. Period 1 is also not covered under a personal auto insurance policy, since being a driver for pay (sometimes called a livery driver), is a different category of insurance.

What Does Rideshare Insurance Cover?

Insurance companies have adapted to the rideshare world by adding affordable coverage that fills insurance gaps in Period 1 and beyond. This additional coverage is sometimes called a “rideshare endorsement” on a personal auto policy.

nsurtech Qover raises $25m
Qover / / Read Article

“Digital-native players are increasingly looking to Qover to help them accelerate their growth and this is just the beginning. Our mission is to connect all the platforms to our fully embedded insurance solution. This new fund will boost our ability to respond to the needs of an exploding market and continue to innovate in providing seamless digital experiences” stated Quentin Colmant, CEO and Co-founder of Qover.

“We have built a powerful Open-API platform and assembled the right team to leverage the high value of embedded insurance. Together we are bringing the much-needed innovation to the insurance space. Now is the time to accelerate our growth and expand our business opportunities globally. We are committed to empowering all digital platforms of the new economy” explained Jean-Charles Velge, Co-founder of Qover.

HealthFitness Announces Acquisition of Midtown Health
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

HealthFitness, a Trustmark company and comprehensive provider of fitness and recreation, wellness, and injury prevention and treatment programs for companies and organizations, is pleased to announce it has acquired Midtown Health, a subsidiary of Tennis Corporation of America.

Midtown Health manages 25 onsite fitness centers nationwide; its client list includes hospital wellness centers, community fitness centers and corporate fitness clubs. The Midtown Health team, including long-time leader Debra Siena, will join HealthFitness.

Photo Of The Day
Monday, 04/26/21 - - Accolade To Buy PlushCare For Up To $450 Mln In Cash And Stock

Tuesday, 04/27/21 - -
As U.S. capital gains tax hike looms, wealthy look for ways to soften the blow

Wednesday, 04-28-21 - -
House Democrats push Biden to lower Medicare eligibility age

Thursday, 04-22-21 - -  Google launches new certification for U.S. health insurance advertisers

Friday, 04-23-21 - - Sen. Baldwin supports plan to allow ages 50-64 to ‘buy into’ Medicare
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