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Monday 05/17/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Pandemic accelerating employers' interest in voluntary benefits: WTW survey
by Paige Minemyer / FIERCE Healthcare / / Read Article

The pandemic has accelerated employers' interest in offering voluntary benefits such as hospital indemnity coverage to workers, a new survey shows.

New data from Willis Towers Watson show 94% of employers believe additional voluntary benefits will be key at their organizations over the next three years. By comparison, just 36% of employers said the same in 2018.

Lydia Jilek, senior director of voluntary benefits solutions at WTW, told Fierce Healthcare that this is a trend she's been tracking for some time, and there were fears that COVID-19 could hinder momentum for these benefits as employers instead turned their focus to digging deep on the medical benefit.

However, the pandemic instead highlighted the value of certain types of benefits more, she said, including hospital indemnity coverage and critical illness benefits.

Galvin: True market forces are finally being unleashed in healthcare
Mark Galvin / Seacoastonline.com / / Read Article

Healthcare will be radically transformed in the next several months. And most of the country hasn’t realized it.

After decades of attempts to turn the healthcare system into a true market, in which forces like competition between providers based on quality and pricing can bring prices down, it is finally happening. The federal government’s new Transparency in Coverage Rule based on provisions of the Affordable Care Act means that 212 million consumers will be given ready access to the prices of virtually every test and procedure so they can decide for themselves whether to spend, say, $800 for an MRI of the lower back or $6,000. And, believe me, the prices for an MRI of exactly the same quality can be that dramatically different, within a 10 miles radius—or less.

This massive and massively welcome sea change in health care is unfolding right now, and health providers, insurers and employers will be scrambling to keep up. Why? Because initial compliance begins on January 1, 2022. And as of January 1, 2023, employers can be fined $100 per insured individual per day for not arming them with comprehensive, transparent, easily accessible competitive pricing.

Biden Strikes Down Trump Rule Requiring Immigrants To Buy Health Insurance
Joe Walsh / Forbes / / Read Article

TOPLINE President Joe Biden will revoke a Trump administration rule that requires immigrants to prove they’ll have health insurance soon after arriving in the United States, the White House said Friday, a policy former President Donald Trump’s staff claimed would ease burdens on the U.S. healthcare system but critics saw as a wealth test for migrants.


Trump’s 2019 rule mandated that prospective adult immigrants have individual, family or employer-based health insurance lined up within 30 days of arrival, unless they could afford to foot their own medical bills, with a few narrow exceptions.

The rule required that individual health insurance plans be unsubsidized, meaning people who receive subsidies through health insurance marketplaces likely wouldn’t qualify.

Around the nation: 32 hospitals sue HHS over Medicare payments
Advisory Board / / Read Article

A group of 32 hospitals located in states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are suing HHS to recalculate their Medicare payments for treating a disproportionate share of low-income patients, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, and Maryland.

District of Columbia: A group of 32 hospitals are suing HHS, arguing the agency should recalculate their Medicare payments for treating a disproportionate share of low-income patients for 2014, 2015, and 2016. The hospitals—which include Baylor University Medical Center, Regional One Health and Houston Methodist Hospital—are located in states that had not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. They argue that, despite their states' decisions not to expand Medicaid, patients who would have been covered under Medicaid expansion should nonetheless be counted as "low-income patients" for the purpose of calculating Medicare's disproportionate share hospital payments (Gellman, Modern Healthcare,

53% of Americans Support Expanding Medicare Benefits, Survey Finds
Kate Ashford / NerdWallet / / Read Article

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Slightly more than half of U.S. adults (53%) support expanding Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental and vision care, according to a new NerdWallet survey. And 54% support the government working to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs covered under Medicare plans.

The survey, commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted online by The Harris Poll, asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults what potential changes to Medicare they support.

The idea of negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs covered under Medicare garnered the most support of the options presented — and among the Medicare proposals now being floated in Congress, probably has the best chance of passing.


Florida leads the country in new Obamacare sign-ups during an ongoing six-month special enrollment period announced by President Joe Biden shortly after he took office.

The state saw 264,088 new people enroll in the marketplace between Feb. 15 and April 30, higher than the number of new enrollees during the shorter enrollment periods of 2020 and 2019 combined, the White House told McClatchy on May 11.

Florida accounts for nearly a third of all new enrollees so far this year in the entire country.

The special enrollment period ends on Aug. 15, so the final tally will be higher.

Wells Fargo fails to shake 401(k) suit
Emile Hallez & Emile Hallez / InvestmentNews / / Read Article

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A lawsuit against Wells Fargo over the use of its own investment products in the company’s $40 billion 401(k) plan this week cleared a major hurdle.

On Wednesday a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the case, finding that the plaintiffs’ “allegations are far more than general assertions, and that accepted as true, show that [the] defendants engaged in prohibited transactions.”

The development likely gives the plaintiffs more leverage for a settlement, as the class-action case has moved one step closer to a trial.

A group of plaintiffs filed their complaint over a year ago, alleging that Wells Fargo and Galliard Capital Management violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in connection with in-house collective investment trusts used within the plan, including the bank’s target-date products. The CITs were costlier and had poor performance relative to other options, according to the complaint.

Noyo Elevates Employee Benefits with Seamless Connectivity
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

Noyo, the leading API platform powering the age of connected insurance, will help Unum provide expanded employee benefits for customers through more digital platforms. By integrating Noyo’s API-driven solution for fast, accurate data exchange across the policy lifecycle, Unum will broaden its ability to connect with additional leading digital distribution partners using a broader array of HRIS technologies.

In a post-digital world where 81% of insurers acknowledge that technology has become an inextricable part of consumers’ lives, innovative industry leaders are seeking to effortlessly transform legacy technology and meet changing consumer demands for more streamlined experiences. Noyo is leading that digital transformation with an end-to-end infrastructure solution that includes flexible, powerful APIs for immediate, secure, and accurate data exchange, complete with round-trip confirmation protocols and unparalleled auditing capabilities that identify and prevent errors before they occur.

MoneyLion partners with NFP and Nationwide to give members direct access to insurance & financial wellness offerings
IBS Intelligence / / Read Article

MoneyLion partners with NFP and Nationwide to give members direct access to insurance & financial wellness offeringsMoneyLion, the provider of leading digital finance platform, has announced a new partnership with leading insurance broker NFP to provide its members with direct access to insurance and financial wellness offerings that can help support their financial journey.

The collaboration, powered by NFP’s InsurChoice program, enables MoneyLion members to shop for and buy insurance products and solutions through its all-in-one financial platform, where they already bank, borrow, save and invest.

“Knowing what type and how much insurance to buy can be a daunting experience for many people, and yet it is a critical foundation for any financial plan. As a leader in digital technology, insurance underwriting and customer service, Nationwide is a natural fit to help our members evaluate the insurance options that are right for them,” said Dee Choubey, MoneyLion co-founder and CEO.

With this announcement, the FinTech is also introducing MoneyLion Marketplace, a platform that matches members with category-leading brands, offers and value-add resources that are tailored to their personal needs. The announcement makes Nationwide the first insurance provider available to MoneyLion members via NFP and through the MoneyLion Marketplace platform.

HC2 Moves Closer to Selling Long-Term Care Insurance Unit
by Allison Bell / ThinkAdvisor / / Read Article

HC2 Holdings Inc. is getting closer to selling Continental Insurance Group Ltd. — a company that’s managing coverage for 125,000 life, health, annuity and long-term care insurance (LTCI customers — to Michael Gorzynski, an investment banker who has been serving as the chairman and president of Continental since October.

HC2 gave investors a Continental deal update last week, when it announced its earnings for the first quarter. The publicly traded, New York-based holding company buys, manages and sells many different types of companies

Continental is the Austin, Texas-based parent of Continental LTC Inc. and Continental General Insurance Company. It ended 2020 with about $4.9 billion in cash and invested assets. It may be best known for a move to acquire Kanawha Insurance Company, an LTCI issuer, from Humana Inc. in 2018.

HC2 announced in December that Gorzynski was trying to buy the insurance business through a transaction with a total value of about $90 million.

Cowdery’s Resolution raises $1.6bn for legacy life insurance investments
STEVE EVANS / ARTEMIS / / Read Article

Resolution Life, the legacy life insurance investments arm of insurance entrepreneur Clive Cowdery’s Resolution Group, has raised a further $1.6 billion to fund growth through the acquisition and reinsurance of life insurance portfolios.

The company has established a number of permanent capital structures over the years to manage in-force portfolios of life insurance and reinsurance risk, to the benefit of the vehicles investor backers, which include financial institutions, insurance companies, pension plans, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.

Since 2003, Resolution Life and prior vehicles founded by Clive Cowdery have deployed $16 billion of equity across multiple transactions, the company said.

Photo Of The Day


Monday, 05/10/21 - - Manchin Opposes Progressives’ Plan to Lower Eligible Age For Medicare

Tuesday, 05/11/21 - -
What you need to know about the cost and accessibility of mental health care in America

Wednesday, 05-12-21 - -
New Washington Payroll Tax to Pay for ‘Free’ Long-Term Care Benefits from the State

Thursday, 05-13-21 - -  Amazon confirms nationwide expansion of telehealth services

Friday, 05-14-21 - -
8 low-cost apps to help employees manage their mental health

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