Daily Insurance Report
Tuesday, 06/08/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Americans have lost more than $1 trillion — yes, trillion — to old, forgotten 401(k) plans
By Alessandra Malito / MarketWatch / / Read Article

Changing jobs throughout a career is not uncommon, but it has contributed to millions of Americans leaving behind retirement savings in their 401(k) plans.

About $1.35 trillion are in “forgotten” 401(k) plans by more than 24 million participants, according to a recent study by Capitalize, a company that helps Americans roll over their employer-sponsored retirement assets. About 2.8 million 401(k) plans are left behind every year, the researchers found.

The average balance in a forgotten 401(k) is $55,400, the report found. Forgotten 401(k) plans could cost individuals nearly $700,000 in lost retirement savings over their lifetimes because of the risks of higher fees and lower returns. The researchers looked at data from the Department of Labor, Census Bureau and 401(k) record-keepers, and used “well-allocated” IRA data to analyze the potential losses.

Federal Agencies Want More Information On Georgia’s Plan To Cut Ties With Healthcare.gov
SAM WHITEHEAD / WABE / / Read Article

The Biden administration has placed another roadblock in front of Gov. Brian Kemp’s health care agenda.

It’s asking for more details on Georgia’s plan to end the use of the Obamacare enrollment website, Healthcare.gov. The proposal, styled “Georgia Access,” would instead have people sign up for coverage through insurance companies, brokers and third-party websites.

In a letter to state officials penned Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Treasury say they need a new analysis of Georgia’s plan by July 3.

The letter expresses concern that the Affordable Care Act insurance landscape has changed considerably since Georgia’s plan was approved by the Trump administration last year.

“Since that time, there have been changes in both health care priorities and policies, as well as federal law,” the letter reads.

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Obamacare Sign-Up Helpers to See $80 Million Boost in Grants
Bloomberg Law / / Read Article

Grant funding increase is largest ever for ‘navigators’

Money will target uninsured in low-income communities

The Biden administration will provide an $80 million boost in grant funding—the largest ever—for Obamacare “navigators” that help connect the uninsured with marketplace coverage.

The funding, announced Friday by Department of Health and Human Services, will only be available to applicants that want to serve as navigators in states that use the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace. States with their own Obamacare marketplaces provide their own navigator funding and awards.

Apple adds 2-week work-from-anywhere benefit to hybrid office return—will it catch on?
Jennifer Liu / CNBC / / Read Article

Apple will have employees return to office buildings three days a week, with the option to work remotely twice a week, beginning in September, the Verge reports.

In a letter to employees this week, CEO Tim Cook outlined plans to have workers back in the office by fall on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and those with manager approval can work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays each week. Some teams that require in-person work will be onsite four to five days a week.

Rigid work schedules could lead people to quit
The tech giant’s new remote-work policies are more rigid than some of its biggest competitors.

Microsoft employees have been notified they can continue to work from home half the time, or full-time with manager approval. Last summer, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg estimated half of the organization will continue to work remotely over the next five to 10 years. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to stand out for its May 2020 announcement that employees can work from home “forever.”

Could Obamacare be unconstitutional?
by ELISSA SALAMY, The National Desk / KPIC / / Read Article

The Supreme Court is entering its last month of the current term, set to make some decisions on a few high-profile cases. Is former President Barack Obama’s Obamacare unconstitutional?

“It might very well be,” said Chicago attorney Karen Conti to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “The individual mandate means that most citizens have to get insurance and if they don’t they’re penalized. In the past, the Supreme Court has said that's a constitutional law because that is deemed to be a tax and not a penalty. Now the Congress has eliminated that penalty, so the question is does the act still stand without that tax or penalty?”

Voluntary benefits on the rise, Willis Towers Watson finds
Katie Clarey / HR Dive / / Read Article

Dive Brief:

Employers are granting voluntary benefits — unsubsidized offerings — greater importance, according to the results of a Willis Towers Watson survey released mid-May.

In 2018, just over a third of employers said voluntary benefits would be an important part of their employee value proposition and total rewards strategy in three years. This year, 94% of respondents shared that prediction, Willis Towers Watson said.

Identity theft, hospital indemnity and pet insurance are among the fastest growing voluntary benefits. Employers' most common current or future offerings include financial planning (93%), tuition reimbursement (88%), telephonic financial counseling (77%), onsite fitness center (54%), backup childcare (48%) and eldercare (44%).

Did you file for unemployment in Colorado this year? You may be eligible for free health insurance.
Denverite / / Read Article

While losing her job has been devastating in a lot of ways, it also delivered a silver lining. A new allowance written into the American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March, opened a pathway for her back into a doctor’s care.

The law, which authorized a third round of stimulus checks and child tax credits, also offers free or low-cost health insurance for people who filed for unemployment in 2021 and who live in states with an Obamacare marketplace. Colorado is one of those states. Because Peterson received unemployment this year, she’s one of the hundreds of thousands of people in this state who qualify for the new program. The American Rescue Plan also widened access to the marketplace for people who did not file for unemployment this year.

Administrative Exhaustion Is Required Even When Not Mentioned in Plan

The Eastern District of Missouri recently examined whether administrative exhaustion is a prerequisite to an ERISA suit alleging a wrongful denial of employee benefits, where the benefit plan’s language did not include an administrative appeal procedure and the denial letter included only permissive language stating that the claimant “may request a review” of the denial.

Ultimately, the Court focused on the Eighth Circuit’s “sound policy of not wanting courts to review plan administrators’ decisions based on initial, often succinct denial letters in the absence of complete records” and dismissed (without prejudice) the suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Odie Pet Insurance Backed by Top VC's in Oversubscribed Round
PRNewswire / /
Read Article

Odie Pet Insurance announced the close of over $3 million in new funding to accelerate its growth and invest in technology. Odie's mission is to democratize pet insurance by bringing a new generation of pet owners into the market. Their product and strategy are geared toward Millennials and Gen Z's, the fastest growing demographic of pet parents in the U.S. Odie set out to solve the shortcomings of legacy pet insurance providers by offering its members greater coverage flexibility, stable and predictable annual premiums, and shared values that are centered around pet wellness.

The investment round was led by Walkabout Ventures and Slow Ventures which have successful track records within the insure-tech and consumer pet sectors. A distinguished list of New York based family offices and individual investors also made direct investments into the round.

Photo Of The Day

Monday, 06/07/21 - - Voya Financial wins Eastbridge Consulting Group's 2020 Voluntary Sales Growth Leader in the Large-Carrier Category for the Second Year in a Row

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, 06/03/21 - -  (Nevada Governor) Sisolak pledges to sign public option health care bill

Friday, 06/04/21 - -
HERO SELLING WITH DAVID SALTZMAN / Eric Silverman / Voluntary Disruption

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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.