Daily Insurance Report
Wednesday, 06/02/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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How Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway took on America’s health care system—and lost
ERIKA FRY / FORTUNE / / Read Article

Was it a press release, or a declaration of war?

How else to explain the media and market frenzy that followed the announcement, issued at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase—three of the nation’s largest, most high-profile, and best-run companies, then with some $534 billion in revenues between them—were teaming up to take on the ever-more-expensive, ever-more-complex problem that is American health care. Or what Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett colorfully described in that press release as “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”

Specifically, the companies were aiming to improve satisfaction and reduce the cost of the health care they purchase and subsidize for their employees and their employees’ families in the form of health benefits—collectively, a $4 billion annual commitment. They planned to do this by forming “an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints” and focusing on “technology solutions.”

Haven’s founders gave up on the venture but not the goal. Amazon never stopped its work, and JPMorgan just launched Morgan Health, a new business unit that sounds a lot like Haven, but with some key modifications: Its internal team will set priorities, and the defined mission is to work with, not against, industry partners and innovators.

So, did Haven make a difference? Opinions are divided there too. Some credit Haven for sparking a conversation and spurring investment; others argue the effort undermined progress by raising the obvious question: If they couldn’t do it, who can? In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey of very large employers (health care companies not included), 85% of top executives think government support will be necessary to control costs and provide coverage.





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In rejecting a 'public option,' Connecticut is in good company
by Washington Examiner  / / Read Article

Lawmakers in Connecticut recently decided, for the third year in a row, not to create a public option health insurance plan. Gov. Ned Lamont, a liberal Democrat who once tried to oust Sen. Joe Lieberman from office for his moderation, dropped the hammer on this idea.

And good for him. Lamont doesn’t want to be saddled with an embarrassing failure that is also difficult to administer. If it has to happen, let some other sucker be the governor who deals with it.

You may wonder why they considered a public option in Connecticut in the first place. Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to fix the problems of health insurance access and affordability? That’s what its supporters promised.

But in any case, Democrats certainly have the numbers to create a public option in Connecticut if they want it. So why don’t they?

Because it’s a bad idea. A public option has never been a realistic long-term plan for government involvement in healthcare. It was always intended as an interim step toward single-payer healthcare. In the long run, it can serve as nothing else.



Editorial: Public option misses again /
By DAILY CAMERA EDITORIAL  / / Read Article

The concept of setting up a government-run health insurance plan to offer lower premiums is simple. States and the federal government have long provided, with varying degrees of success, unemployment insurance, workers compensation insurance, and homeowners insurance. The reason is simple – if you cut out the profits, the government can insure riskier individuals at a lower cost. Getting individuals insured is beneficial to everyone.

Gumming up the possibility of a public option, however, are two behemoths: health care providers who can of course choose not to accept the health insurance and the health insurance industry that is lobbying to prevent a public option from cutting into their free-market enterprises.

We support a free market, but we think even the staunchest conservative can agree that the government has a compelling interest in making sure residents can access health care. I







Employers Face Important Affordable Care Act Deadline and Fee on July 31st
Sam Slade, Business Contributor / GOLOCAL Prov Business / / Read Article

The Affordable Care Act requires employers who sponsor self-funded health plans (including certain HRAs) to pay the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee to the IRS. The fee is based on the average number of covered lives under the plan and must be reported once a year on the second quarter IRS Form 720 and paid annually by July 31st. For the 2021 payment cycle, the due date has been extended to August 2nd since July 31st falls on a Saturday. Although Form 720 is a quarterly form, for PCORI, Form 720 is filed once annually.

The PCORI fee was originally scheduled to expire in late 2019, but federal legislation passed in December 2019 extended the PCORI fee obligation for all plan years ending before October 1, 2029. There was no change to the type of plan subject to the PCORI fee. The government simply extended the original sunset date from 2019 to 2029.



The ABCDs of Medicare Drug Coverage
JOEL MEKLER / New Castle News / / Read Article

While I wish it was as simple as telling apples from oranges, Medicare Part A, B, C, and D coverage is quite different on how they cover prescription drugs.

It depends on the drug, where you receive it, and whether you are in Original Medicare or have a Medicare Advantage plan.

Here are three general rules to keep in mind:

• Part A covers drugs administered when you’re an inpatient at a hospital or you are receiving skilled nursing facility care.

• Part B covers drugs administered in a doctor’s office, hospice or when you are in a hospital outpatient department.

• Part D covers outpatient drugs that you take yourself and purchase at a retail pharmacy.



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Co-Founder & CEO, LeggUP
20+ in years employee benefits





4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement
by: Bill Thomas, CLU, ChFC, CASL / Kiplinger / / Read Article

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the relief measures Congress has passed to ensure the economy’s recovery, markets regained the ground they lost in 2020 and then sailed even higher. If you’re getting ready to retire, these market gains likely help you feel more confident about the sustainability of your post-retirement finances.

Obviously, accumulating sufficient assets for retirement is a critical part of retirement income planning. However, it’s just as important to preserve what you’ve saved over the 25 or 30 years that you may live in retirement. That’s where proactive tax planning comes in.

Here are four strategies to help you position yourself for tax efficiency in retirement:

Strategy #1: Consider a Partial In-Service Rollover from Your 401(K) Plan
Strategy #2: Consider a Roth IRA Conversion
Strategy #3: Consider Life Insurance
Strategy #4: Consider Fixed-Index Annuities



Investing app Acorns to go public through a blank-check merger valued at $2.2 billion
Kate Rooney / CNBC / / Read Article

KEY POINTS

Acorns will merge with with Pioneer Merger Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company.

The deal values Acorns at roughly $2.2 billion, more than double its last private valuation, and is expected to close in the back half of this year.

“Now was the time to go public to accelerate our growth and get the tools of responsible wealth-making in everyone’s hands as fast as possible, when they need it most,” says CEO Noah Kerner.



Atlantic American Employee Benefits Selects EIS to Accelerate Group Voluntary Benefits Expansion
EIS’ core technology to automate policy administration, provide more seamless broker experience, using a SaaS delivery approach
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

EIS, a core and digital platform provider for insurers, announced today that Atlantic American Employee Benefits, the voluntary division of Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company®, has selected EIS to launch a next-generation, digital-first platform that will allow it to scale and accelerate the growth of its group benefits business.

“By helping them move to a more automated model that delivers greater efficiency, more functionality and more intuitive user interface, our core technology will help accelerate their growth in the voluntary benefits space.”

“We’re excited that Atlantic American Employee Benefits chose EIS for this transformation initiative and look forward to working with their team to leverage modern coretech and deliver an outstanding experience for brokers and their clients, from quote to claim,” said Alec Miloslavsky, EIS CEO. “By helping them move to a more automated model that delivers greater efficiency, more functionality and more intuitive user interface, our core technology will help accelerate their growth in the voluntary benefits space.”



 
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Archives
 
Monday, 05/24/21 - - Dozens of longtime employees are suing Farmers Insurance for age discrimination

Tuesday, 06/21/21 - -
8 Types of Employee Benefits - U.S. News & World Report


Wednesday, 05-26-21 - -
Health Insurance Broker: Dude, what you're doing is changing lives by Andy Neary

Thursday, 05-27-21 - -  Three Ways To Prioritize Well-Being Through Employee Benefits

Friday, 05-28-21 - -
Pay down your student loans or wait for forgiveness? A financial planner weighs in on the best next step

 
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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.