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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 

Wednesday, 05/13/20 https://DailyInsuranceReport.com  

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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.

Benefit Plan Deadlines Extended – COBRA, Special Enrollment, Plan Disclosures And More
Kelly Haab-Tallitsch, SmithAmundsen LLC / JDSUPRA

On April 29, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Treasury Department issued guidance extending certain timeframes related to employee benefit plans due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The agencies acknowledge that plan sponsors, participants and beneficiaries may have difficulty meeting the standard timeframes due to the national emergency and the extensions are intended to help maintain group health plan coverage.

Relief for Participants and Beneficiaries

A joint final rule issued by the DOL and Treasury provides that all group health plans, disability plans, other employee welfare benefit plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until 60 days after the COVID-19 National Emergency ends (or such other date as the agencies announce), referred to as the “Outbreak Period,” in determining certain notice and payment deadlines.

This includes:

The 60-day COBRA election period;
Due dates for making COBRA premium payments;
The 30-day (or 60-day as applicable) HIPAA special enrollment period;
The 60-day period for participants to notify a plan of a COBRA qualifying event (e.g. divorce); and
The deadlines for filing a claim for benefits, an appeal, or a request for an external review of a denied claim.

Feds Consider ‘Ludicrous’ Plan to Trim Retirement Benefits
by John Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief / 401k Specialist

Round after round of recent economic stimulus in various forms has deficit hawks concerned about the potential damage done.

The Trump Administration has entertained certain proposals that recommend curbing future federal retirement benefits to combat the situation, according to The Washington Post.

One involves current 401(k) Specialist cover subject Andrew Biggs, and would allow Americans “to choose to receive checks of up to $5,000 in exchange for a delay of their Social Security benefits,” the paper writes.

Biggs, former deputy director with the Social Security Administration and a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, developed the plan with Joshua Rauh of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

He found himself fending criticism upon publication of the story Sunday.

“Giving the financially illiterate a difficult financial choice (that is behaviorally loaded) is purposefully harmful,” one critic tweeted.

Schlichter Seeks $4 Million in Fees for Oracle 401(k) Settlement
Jacklyn Wille, Legal Reporter / Bloomberg Law

Oracle Corp.'s $12 million class settlement with participants in its 401(k) plan spurred a $4 million attorneys’ fee request from the lawyers who negotiated the deal, according to a motion filed in the District of Colorado.

The attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton LLP say a fee award of one-third the settlement amount is “consistent” with those awarded in other complex Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuits. It’s also reasonable given the 6,300 hours expended in litigating the case “up to the very brink of trial,” the firm said in a May 8 motion for attorneys’ fees.

The settlement, announced in February, ends four years of litigation between the California software company and a class of 70,000 employees who say the company drained millions from their 401(k) plan through a bad deal with the plan’s record-keeper, Fidelity Management Trust Co. Oracle defeated all but two of the employees’ pending claims in 2019.

In addition to the $12 million payment, the deal requires Oracle to “instruct the Plan’s record-keeper in writing” that it can’t try to sell unrelated products, like individual retirement accounts or life insurance, to the plan’s current participants. Restrictions on how third-party service providers use plan participant data for sales purposes have cropped up in other recent retirement plan settlements, including those signed by Vanderbilt University and Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. Life Insurance Activity Off 3.0% in April Reports the MIB Life Index
MIB Life Index

Divergent Buyer Behavior Emerges During COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. life insurance application activity was down 3.0% YOY in April, according to the MIB Life Index. This is the second consecutive month of decline for the Index. On a monthly basis, April is showing diminished activity from historical April volumes due to COVID-19. Application activity in April was off -5.5% from that of March showing improvement in activity versus the February to March time period.

LIBRA Insurance Partners teams up with Human API

Insurance marketing business LIBRA Insurance Partners has teamed up with Human API to simplify the purchase process for life insurance.

The companies will achieve this by enabling consumers to share their electronic health records (EHR), a move which was accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic, they stated. It explained that disruption to traditional underwriting requirements such as paramedical exams and attending physician statements, the insurance space is leveraging new data sources like EHR to resolve this.

Human API’s health data platform enables consumers to connect and share their health data wherever it is stored.

Healthcare sector lost stunning 1.4M jobs in April
By Ron Shinkman

Dive Brief:

The healthcare sector shed more than 1.4 million jobs in April according to data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics — a stunning reversal after years of consistent gains. It represented about 7% of the nation's total job losses last month. The industry's overall unemployment rate more than tripled between March and April.

The bulk of lost healthcare jobs are in ambulatory services, which lost more than 1 million jobs in April, presumably due to the widespread cancellation of elective procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physician offices were also hard hit, losing more than 243,000 jobs, although that segment fared far better than dental offices, which lost more than half a million jobs. The insurance sector fared much better in comparison.

Kaiser sees $1.1B net loss in first quarter, driven by investments

Kaiser Permanente reported a $1.1 billion net loss in the first quarter of 2020. The company said this was largely driven by investment losses, and that the full financial impact of the pandemic is not yet known.


Monday - 05/11/20 - - Will a Wave of Workplace Lawsuits Follow the Return to Work?

Tuesday - 05/12/20 - - Life Insurers Halt Sales As Hopes for Profit Dim — WSJ

Wednesday - 05/06/20 - -  First Dollar raises $5 million for a consumer-friendly healthcare savings accountts eligibility requirements

Thursday - 05/07-20 - Britain’s Billion Dollar Babylon Health App Set To Launch For ‘Millions’ Of New Yorkers

Friday - 05-08-20 - - The Future of Voluntary Benefits

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