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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.
  Monday, 05/13/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

A lawsuit alleges that more than 100 generic drugs were included in a price-fixing scheme
More than 40 US states have filed a lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical firms of conspiring to artificially inflate the cost of common medicinal drugs.

The lawsuit alleges that as many as 20 companies have been involved in fixing prices for over 100 drugs, including treatments for diabetes and cancer.

One of the firms accused is Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world's largest producer of generic medicine.

Teva, which has denied any wrongdoing, says it will defend its actions.

The legal action, which follows a five-year investigation, accuses drugs companies of involvement in a scheme to boost prices - in some cases by more than 1,000% - and was filed on Friday by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people," Mr Tong said.

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President Trump calls for an end to surprise medical bills AHIP wants reimbursement based on market rates determined by contracted amounts paid by insurers to similar doctors in a geographic area.

President Donald Trump on Thursday called for an end to surprise billing, and said an announcement would be coming out within the next two weeks that would be more comprehensive.

"We are going to be announcing something I think over the next two weeks that's going to bring transparency to all of it. And I think in a way it's going to be as important as a healthcare bill, it's going to be something really special," Trump said, after looking over a $17,000 bill for a urine sample that was brought forward by a constituent.

"In an effort to address surprise billing, what we do is all kinds of health insurance: large group, small group, individual markets, everything; we want everything included," he said. "No one in America should be bankrupted unexpectedly by healthcare costs that are absolutely out of control."

Trump said what was coming over the next two weeks would have a bigger impact than a very good healthcare bill and bigger than when his administration took the individual mandate away from Obamacare. It is being drawn up now in a bipartisan effort.


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The 5 Questions Everyone Should Ask About Single-Payer Health Care
Hal Scherz / Townhall

With Sen. Bernie Sanders introducing a new “Medicare for All” bill this month and several other Democratic presidential candidates co-sponsoring it, health care is once again a top campaign issue. The Democratic Party’s Socialist wing has hijacked the health care debate, and a closer examination of Medicare for All reveals its grim prognosis.

This plan is co-sponsored by four other senators running for president: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker. It represents a radical change in how Americans pay for and receive health care. Medicare for All ends private health care insurance, granting the federal government total control. Employer-based health care will disappear.

Ironically, Medicare will also vanish as it is rolled into this massive new program. The plan’s authors have attempted to disguise this fact by calling it Medicare for All, but that is one gigantic lie. They claim you will be able to visit any doctor or hospital, get care whenever you want, and not need to worry about cost, because everything will be covered.

There are five basic questions we should ask supporters of this plan.

1. How will we pay for this?
2. Will Medicare for All be free for patients?
3. What happens to seniors who currently have Medicare?
4. If I am unhappy with Medicare for All, can’t I just get care elsewhere?
5. At least I can still see my doctor, right?

Scrap ‘Obamacare’? Maybe not all, Trump administration says

The Trump administration is arguing in court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down as unconstitutional. But at the same time Justice Department lawyers have suggested that federal judges could salvage an important part _ its anti-fraud provisions. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scrap “Obamacare”? Well, maybe not all of it.

The Trump administration is arguing in court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down as unconstitutional. But at the same time, Justice Department lawyers recently suggested that federal judges could salvage its anti-fraud provisions, raising questions about keeping other parts as well.

Jost called the Justice Department’s latest filing with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a “mashed together combination” seemingly written by different administration factions, one seeking a total rollback and the other anxious to preserve useful provisions.

Case in point: Drawing on language used by conservative Supreme Court justices, administration lawyers likened various health law provisions to “ornaments” that must come down if a Christmas tree falls. But they also suggested the courts might want to keep the ACA’s anti-fraud provisions, which have made it easier for prosecutors to win Medicare cases involving kickbacks, increased screening of providers who bill public programs, and made other significant changes.

Tesla rolls out employee loan benefit as factory workers cope with unpredictable hours
Lora Kolodny / CNBC

Tesla has rolled out a new benefit for its workers: employee loans, facilitated through the London-based financial tech start-up Salary Finance, and funded via its partner Axos Bank.

In correspondence distributed to Tesla employees and seen by CNBC, the companies said that workers could use the new benefit to borrow money at relatively affordable rates and pay it back directly out of their paychecks.

By offering a “financial well-being” benefit, Tesla gives active employees a way to handle their debt and expenses without turning to higher-cost alternatives like a 401(k) loan, credit cards with a high annual percentage rate, or traditional payday loans. That takes some pressure off those who would leave the company in search of higher wages, and could potentially stem attrition.

Healthcare data breaches reach record high in April
JESSICA KIM COHEN / Modern Helthcare

Providers, health plans and their business associates reported 44 data breaches to the federal government last month.

That's the highest number of healthcare breaches reported in a single month since HHS' Office for Civil Rights began maintaining its online database of healthcare breaches in 2010, surpassing the previous record—exactly one year ago, April 2018—when healthcare groups reported 42 breaches to the agency.

In spite of the record number of incidents reported last month, April experienced a downtick in the number of people who had data exposed. Healthcare breaches reported in April compromised data from 686,953 people, down 29% from the 963,794 people affected by breaches reported in March. Two breaches reported in April each exposed data on more than 100,000 people.

Majority of healthcare breaches come from inside the organizations: report
Insider attacks were responsible for the majority of healthcare data breaches in 2018 versus external attacks
Heather Landi / FierceHealthcare

Within the healthcare industry, employees, whether nurses, doctor or administrative staff, are granted access to patients' data in order to do their jobs. But an alarming number of employees may be abusing this privileged access or committing errors that lead to data breaches.

Insider attacks were responsible for the majority of healthcare data breaches (59%) in 2018 versus external attacks (42%), according to a new data breach investigations report from Verizon. The healthcare industry is the only sector to show a greater number of insider attacks than external, according to Verizon's analysis more than 20 industries.

Average 401(k) Account Balance Has Soared 466% in Past 10 Years
By Lee Barney / planadviser

Fidelity Investments took a look at the balances of participants who remained invested in their 401(k) in the decade following the Great Recession of 2008. Overall, average balances soared 466%, from $52,600 in the first quarter of 2009 to $297,700 in the first quarter of 2019.

Among Millennials and Generation X, the growth was even more pronounced. Millennials’ balances rose 1,762%, from $7,000 to $129,800. Gen Xers’ balances rose 626%, from $37,000 to $268,900. Baby Boomers’ balances rose 367%, from $76,500 to $357,200.

Fidelity also looked at how different generations fared if they had remained invested for 15 years. Boomers’ balances rose to $430,500, while those of Gen Xers reached $347,200, and Millennials, $152,400.

“When I think about the onus of American workers having to save from their paycheck for their own retirement, despite the market volatility, people are staying the course, saving more and taking advantage of the match, which is fantastic news,” Katie Taylor, vice president of thought leadership at Fidelity Investments in Boston, tells PLANADVISER.

In periods when the market is volatile, the volume of incoming calls to Fidelity’s call center rises, but once investors are told to focus on the risk tolerance appropriate for their age as well as their long-term goals, they seldom change their investments, Taylor says.

HumanaCare to provide Medical Second Opinion, Employee Assistance Plans, and Business Assistance Programs to BBD groups

Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. and HumanaCare are pleased to announce a new partnership in which HumanaCare will be the primary provider of Medical Second Opinion, Employee Assistance Plans, and Business Assistance Programs for BBD Benepac® customers.

“BBD is on a mission to help working Canadians connect with group benefits that grow business and support good health,” said Scott Southward, BBD Managing Partner. “We’re equally focused on providing our Advisors and their clients with access to innovative, sustainable products. Our agreement with HumanaCare affords us the opportunity to offer Canadian business owner’s access to Employee Assistance Plans, Business Assistance Programs, and Medical Second Opinion services all through one provider.”


Monday, 05/06/19 - Two Men Charged in Insurance Investment Fraud Scheme that Caused Hundreds of Millions in Victim Losses

Tuesday, 05/07/19 - Health insurance deductibles soar, leaving Americans with unaffordable bills

Wednesday, 05/08/19 - Medicare-for-all’ sponsor says plan would gut 1 million private insurance jobs

Thursday, 05/09/19 - Health Giant Anthem Hires Former Whirlpool Executive to Oversee Marketing Efforts

Friday, 05/10/19 - Blackstone aims to become insurance powerhouse - WSJ

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor