Daily Insurance Report
Thursday, 06/03/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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(Nevada Governor) Sisolak pledges to sign public option health care bill
Colton Lochhead / Las Vegas Review-Journal / / Read Article

Nevada looks set to become the second state in the nation to enact a “public option” health insurance plan after Gov. Steve Sisolak said he intends to put his signature to state Democrats’ signature health care legislation.

“I’m going to sign the public option (bill),” Sisolak said in a wide-ranging, post-Legislature interview Tuesday with reporters. The first-term Democrat also explained his reasoning for not supporting the failed death penalty ban, where his signature “innovation zones” concept goes from here and more.

While billed as a “public option” by supporters, Nevadans who purchase plans via the system created by Senate Bill 420 won’t be buying their insurance directly from the state.

Instead, the legislation will create something closer to a public-private partnership in which insurance companies that participate in the state’s Medicaid program will be required to offer middle-tier plans on the state health care exchange that could cost 5 percent less than similar plans starting in 2026, and as much as 15 percent less by 2030.

Obamacare Prices Continue to Fall
By: Michael Ollove / PEW / / Read Article

The cost of the health insurance plans sold on Obamacare marketplaces has declined for the third year in a row, according to a new analysis.

In addition to the decrease in premiums since costs spiked in 2018, more insurance carriers are now participating in the marketplaces, according to a report published by the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank based in Washington, D.C.

The authors examined policies offering similar benefits in the 15 states that run their own marketplaces and the 36 states that rely at least in part on the federal marketplace. Premiums fell by an average of 1.2% from 2018 to 2019, 3.2% from 2019 to 2018 and 1.7% from 2020 to 2021, they found. That contrasts with a huge increase from 2017 to 2018 of nearly 32%, which the authors attributed largely to policies of the Trump administration intended to undercut the Affordable Care Act.

Prices dropped on the Obamacare marketplaces even as health insurance premiums rose overall.

Employee Burnout Up as Employers Pull Back on Support for Mental Health Benefits, Headspace Survey Finds
Headspace / PRNewswire / / Read Article

Employees are more stressed and burned out by work today than they were at the start of the pandemic, and they're increasingly looking to employers for mental health benefits and solutions, according to survey data released today by Headspace for Work, Headspace's enterprise business that offers mindfulness products and services to help companies build healthier, more productive cultures and higher-performing organizations.

Employees report work stress, burnout, and work-life balance as greater concerns this year, according to a survey of more than 5,000 working adults in the U.S. and four other countries across 21 industries. Survey respondents also say their employers are doing a worse job supporting mental health during the pandemic than they were a year ago and that employers are providing fewer mental health benefits and resources — a 13% drop.

Privately insured face worse access, higher costs than those in public plans: JAMA report
Rebecca Pifer / / Read Article

Dive Brief:

Privately insured individuals are more likely to report worse access to care, higher medical costs and lower satisfaction than those on public insurance programs like Medicare, suggesting public options may provide more cost-effective care than private ones, according to a new study published in JAMA on Tuesday.

The study, conducted by researchers from the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, comes amid a renewed push by Democrats to enact a public health insurance option, a key prong of President Joe Biden's health agenda fiercely opposed by conservatives.

As legislators look for ways to lower costs and improve coverage, policy "efforts directed at increasing the number of individuals covered by Medicare or improving protections for individuals covered by private insurance against increasing out-of-pocket costs, high deductibles, and surprise billing may be associated with improved experience of and satisfaction with health care," researchers said.

Walgreens completes sale of drug wholesale business to AmerisourceBergen for $6.5B
Healthcare Dive / / Read Article

Dive Brief:

Walgreens has completed the sale of its Alliance Healthcare businesses to drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen for $6.5 billion, the retail behemoth announced Wednesday.

Alliance Healthcare is one of the largest pharmaceutical wholesalers in Europe, so the deal, completed roughly five months after being announced, will significantly bolster AmerisourceBergen's global distribution business.

Walgreens plans to use the infusion of capital to reduce debt and accelerate the growth of its retail pharmacy and health businesses, including its network of in-store primary care clinics in partnership with medical group VillageMD.

Haven Life disability product highlights need for income security benefits
By Amanda Schiavo / ebn / / Read Article

Haven Life, a life insurance agency that is owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, has debuted a new product designed to help middle and lower-income families cover critical expenses like rent or mortgage payments when an illness or injury makes staying on top of their bills more difficult.

Seventy-one percent of employers offer employees a long-term disability insurance benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Short-term disability insurance is offered by 61% of employers and supplemental accident insurance is offered by 35% of employers.

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Transform Your Benefits Administration Experience!

Eastbridge's latest report examines current claim practices by carriers in the voluntary/worksite market
PRNewswire / / Read Article

Employers know their employees need the protection voluntary benefits offer, and nothing highlights the importance of these products to everyone involved - employers, brokers and employees - than when a claim is paid. And since the average employee is younger and more tech-savvy than in years past, expectations for the claim process to be easy, technologically-driven and fast have increased. That makes it imperative for carriers to improve their overall claim processes and accuracy, communication methods and turnaround times if they want to remain competitive in the voluntary/worksite market.

The purpose of the Claims Practices of Voluntary Carriers Spotlight™ Report is to provide important information for carriers on claim practices including:

Claim area structures and organization
Claim filing and status options
Claim time standards by product and methods of measurement
Claim processes and services
Claim integration practices
Claim evaluation and tracking
Carrier selection criteria
Changes to claim practices due to COVID-19
Concerns, obstacles and future trends

With this information, carriers have a source for comparing their existing claim practices with carrier competitors, enabling them to plan for important future trends and expectations in this key administrative area.

The Hartford Enhances Group Life And Disability Coverage For Medical Professionals
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

The Hartford has expanded its group life and disability offering for medical groups, ProtectProSM, to include more flexible plan designs and new coverage options tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of medical professionals.

“As employment for non-physician medical professionals is projected to grow1, the right benefits package can help ensure these employees are protected and can help medical practices attract and retain talent”

“The focus on the essential work of medical professionals and the need to protect their income when the unexpected strikes have never been greater,” said Matt Montminy, head of product and strategy for Group Benefits at The Hartford. “For nearly 30 years, The Hartford has provided specialized income protection to employees of medical groups. We are committed to serving physicians and their practices with products and services customized to their unique needs.”

ProtectPro customers have access to The Hartford’s dedicated underwriting, customer service and claims teams who specialize in serving medical groups. In addition to flexible plan designs, new optional benefits include:

LIMRA’s Trustworthy Selling Recognized In National Competition of Sales Training Companies
LIMRA / / Read Article

Selling Power, Inc., a multi-channel media company that produces Selling Power magazine, the leading periodical for sales managers and sales vice presidents since 1981, recently gave Trustworthy Selling honorable mention among the top 25 sales training companies across all industries.

The sales effectiveness program Trustworthy Selling uses Hoopis Performance Network’s proven language and techniques and LIMRA's research insights on consumers and their behaviors to equip financial professionals with the knowledge and skills to engage today’s consumers on their terms and—as a result— increase their sales.

The main criteria used for selecting honorees included:

Depth and breadth of training offered
Innovative offerings (training courses, methodology, or delivery methods)
Contributions to the sales training market
Strength of client satisfaction and overall client feedback
Trustworthy Selling 2.0 offers training for agents at all stages of their careers. There are levels for financial representatives starting out, those with one or more years of experience, as well as multi-line professionals who need to pivot to life and financial services products.

Several delivery options, including virtual, are available to suit companies’ training needs. To date, more than 20,000 financial services sales representatives have gone through Trustworthy Selling—on average, this led to a 20-30% lift in productivity.

American Financial Group closes $3.5 billion business sale
BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

American Financial Group (AFG) has closed the sale of its annuity businesses to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

The sale included AFG’s Great American Life Insurance Company (GALIC) and its two subsidiaries – Annuity Investors Life Insurance Company and Manhattan National Life Insurance Company. AFG also sold a broker-dealer affiliate to Mass Mutual - Great American Advisors, and an insurance distributor, AAG Insurance Agency.

A release said that the total after-cash proceeds from the sale are about $3.5 billion.

Hub International Acquires The Assets Of Massachusetts-Based Epstein Financial Group LLC
PRNewswire / / Read Article

HUB International Limited (Hub), a leading full-service global insurance broker, announced today that it has acquired the assets of Epstein Financial Services LLC and Epstein Financial Group LLC. (Epstein Financial). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Located in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Epstein Financial is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) providing corporate retirement plan consulting, compliance and regulatory guidance, as well as wealth management services. Their significant experience and resources help clients maintain a successful retirement program that will assist their employees to achieve financial security.

Charlie Epstein, Principal and Founder of Epstein Financial, will join Hub Retirement and Private Wealth in Hub New England.

Photo Of The Day

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

Tuesday, 06/01/21 - -
8 Types of Employee Benefits - U.S. News & World Report

Wednesday, 06/02/21 - -
How Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway took on America’s health care system—and lost

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.