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


Thursday, 05/07/20
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The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits. The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.




Britain’s Billion Dollar Babylon Health App Set To Launch For ‘Millions’ Of New Yorkers
David Dawkins, Forbes Staff / Forbes

Babylon Health, the $2 billion valued U.K.-based digital healthcare app for “AI-powered” diagnosis and video appointments, has announced its plans to conquer the U.S.

Starting in New York, Babylon has joined the Mount Sinai Health Partners Provider Network to offer its digital healthcare service to “millions” of insured New Yorkers in the five boroughs and beyond. Services include COVID-19 Care Assistant, live chat with real Babylon team members, symptom logging, and virtual doctor consultations.

Announcing the news, Robert W. Fields, chief medical officer at Mount Sinai Health Partners describes New York as “the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stressing, “the need to engage with our patients in their homes” and reduce the burden placed on New York doctors.





Lawmakers Ask I.R.S. to Help Companies That Keep Paying Health Benefits
By Jim Tankersley New York Times

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including the chairmen of the tax-writing committees in the House and the Senate, asked the Internal Revenue Service on Monday to allow companies that continue paying the cost of health benefits for furloughed workers to remain eligible for a new tax credit.

At issue is a tax credit for retaining employees, which essentially reimburses companies for as much as half the wages they continue to pay workers who are furloughed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The credit, which is meant to encourage companies to keep paying employees amid virus-induced shutdowns, was included in an economic rescue package that passed Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Trump in March.

The lawmakers’ concern stems from guidance that I.R.S. officials issued governing which companies are eligible for the credit’s benefits, and to what degree. That guidance allows companies to qualify if they reduce employees’ hours — and thus, their pay — amid the pandemic, but do not lay them off entirely.

But it rules out benefits for companies that stop paying wages to their workers but continue to pay the cost of their health benefits. If a company “is not paying wages to its employees for time that the employees are not providing services,” the guidance states, “it may not treat any portion of the health plan expenses as qualified wages.”





Exclusive: AmerisourceBergen eyes Walgreens' drug distribution business
Rebecca Spalding / Reuters

AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N), one of the largest U.S. drug distributors, has approached Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) to explore a deal for its pharmaceutical wholesaling division, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The two companies have explored various possibilities for combining operations in recent years, including a sale of AmerisourceBergen to Walgreens, on the theory that their drug distribution businesses would be better positioned to withstand competitive price pressures through even bigger scale.

The coronavirus pandemic has weighed on Walgreens’ retail business since then, however. Its shares have fallen more than 28 percent this year, compared to a 12% drop in the S&P 500 index due to the outbreak. AmerisourceBergen shares are flat year-to-date.

AmerisourceBergen is willing to pay about $6 billion for the Walgreens pharmaceutical wholesale business, which operates mainly under the Alliance Healthcare brand, one of the sources said.



ADP MEP Tapped in Excessive Fee Suit
BY NEVIN E. ADAMS, JD / NAPA (National Association Of Plan Advisors)

Allegations Made

The suit claims that there are “…many indications that Defendants have severely breached their fiduciary duties of prudence and/or loyalty to the Plan.” As of Dec. 31, 2018, the defendant plan had 114,254 participants with account balances and assets totaling over $4.44 billion, and alleges that the defendants:

(1) allowed unreasonable recordkeeping/administrative expenses to be charged to the Plan;

(2) failed to adequately monitor the Plan’s recordkeeper and its affiliates, who the ADP Defendants have permitted to design an investment menu unreasonably favorable to them despite the recordkeeper’s clear conflicts of interest; and (along with NFP Retirement),

(3) selected, retained and/or otherwise ratified high-cost and poorly performing investments, when more prudent alternative investments were available at the time that they were chosen for inclusion within the Plan and throughout the relevant period.



A New Recipe for Waste in Medicaid
The Democrats’ plan would have Washington cover all the health program’s costs for the states this year.
Opinion: Congress Creates a Coronavirus Spending Mess
By Brian Blase / WSJ (Opinion)

Potomac Watch: Congress has found its own neat and plausible answer to the Covid-19 pandemic: spend, spend some more. Thankfully, a few elected leaders are starting to realize it’s wrong. Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The left’s new priority is to convince Congress to send hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states to help them weather the coronavirus storm. A leading Democratic proposal would funnel the money through Medicaid, with a built-in incentive for states to keep their economies closed and unemployment rates high.

Republicans should oppose it. If necessary, President Trump should veto it.



Fair price for remdesivir is $4,460 per patient, ICER review finds
Maia Anderson / BECKER'S HOSPITAL REVIEW

A fair price for remdesivir, Gilead's drug that received emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 patients, would be $4,460 per course of treatment, according to an analysis from The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

ICER is a nonprofit that regularly analyses the cost-effectiveness of prescription drugs.

Remdesivir involves a 10-day treatment regimen, and ICER said a fair cost for the course of treatment would be $4,460, based on quality of life years gained and assuming the value of each year is $50,000.

Gilead hasn't said how much it will charge for the drug, but has donated its entire supply — about 1.5 million vials — to the U.S. government.

Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day also wrote an open letter in March promising the company would work to ensure affordability and access to remdesivir.

The drugmaker said it's aiming to make a million doses of the drug by the end of the year.



Denver Health Retirees Ordered To Repay $11 Million In Pension Benefits
By Brian Maass / DENVER (CBS4)

A CBS4 Investigation has learned that about 40 retirees from the city of Denver — widows, widowers and their beneficiaries — have been ordered to repay a total of $11 million in retirement benefits. They have been erroneously receiving the funds for years due to an error by the retirement plan administrator. One employee has been ordered to repay $3 million.

“It’s extremely unfortunate for the affected employees,” said Heather Darlington, Executive Director of the Denver Employees Retirement Plan, known as DERP, the independent agency that manages retirement benefits for 10,000 retired city of Denver workers.

“We unfortunately paid too much,” said Darlington. “It was a DERP administrative error.”



Part 2 of 3 - Techniques Insurance Companies Need to Master for their Future

This is the second of three articles on what Insurance and Wealth Management organizations need to master to face the future. In this short article, we address the execution and implementation of decisions coming from the strategies, using a more granular view of Business Capabilities. This facilitates enterprise wide traceability ensuring that implementations reflect strategies and expected benefits. If you have missed the first article on strategic aspects published last month, you can read it at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/report-1-techniques-insurance-companies-need-master-pierre/

In this article, we address the execution and implementation of those decisions coming from the strategies, using detailed levels of the Business Capabilities in order to create Business Process Models. This facilitates enterprise wide assurance that implemented business and technology solutions will reflect strategies and expected benefits.

To provide examples, we have included links to videos on how to master and approach the design, development and implementation of these situations. The examples are based on the use of Insurance and Wealth Management Enterprise Capability Maps and Business Process Models contained in Panorama 360, as we did in the first article, to provide continuity between the articles.

· Assessing Business Capabilities: https://youtu.be/IB19ZIkCKdY
· Acquiring and Implementing New Technologies : https://youtu.be/iSbDI40JsnI
· Developing Customer Journey: https://youtu.be/S2d54jKkXF8
· Defining Business Requirements: https://youtu.be/7PW06rfjpCQ
· Improving Processes: https://youtu.be/ikkuRSBjaM8
· Managing Product Portfolio: https://youtu.be/P8jN_jcaITY





Archives

Monday - 05/04/20 - - University of Michigan is planning to offer Tuition Insurance for Ann Arbor students beginning fall semester, 2020

Tuesday - 05/05/20 - - Salesforce releases a set of new tools to help businesses and public agencies reopen safely

Wednesday - 04/29/20 - -  Pandemic prompts insurance carriers to change employee benefits eligibility requirements

Thursday - 04-30-20 - - How the Trump administration accidentally insured over 200,000 through Obamacare

Friday - 05-01-20 - - Do NOT Sell Life Insurance in Person: Pennsylvania


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