Daily Insurance Report - Walt Bernard Podgurski

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

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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.
  Monday, 06/17/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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Former Rep. Tom Price and Alfredo Ortiz | Job Creators Network / THE DAILY CALLER

But by wasting their intellectual and communications capital arguing against the radical and unpopular single-payer proposal, Democrats clear the field for the public to coalesce around the seemingly moderate, yet still wrongheaded, “public option,” which allows consumers to buy in to Medicare. This health care plan is supported by presidential candidates such as Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke.

This political strategy is effective and oft-used by Democrats. The playbook goes like this: Throw out a radical and unpopular plan that sucks up the airwaves while quietly working to coalesce support for a less socialist — yet still destructive — public policy. As any football coach will tell you, the best way to move the ball a few yards forward is by sending a bunch of receivers (and therefore defenders) downfield.

Instead of making the relatively easy case against the impassable single-payer plan, Republicans and conservative groups must build opposition to the misguided public option offered by Biden, et al. This means clearly explaining the fundamental problems that are always associated with government-run health care plans, including lack of choice, substandard care, rationing, months-long wait times, bureaucratic bloat, misdirected resources, and crushing taxpayer costs.

Conservatives should simultaneously make the case for a free market health care alternative that highlights how deregulation will increase choices and bring down costs. For instance, allowing plans that don’t require Obamacare’s “essential health care benefits,” which (like maternity care and rehab) are not essential to many consumers, would allow costs to plummet.

Blumenthal thinks Supreme Court will save Obamacare
By Kaitlyn Krasselt

An attempt to overturn the Affordable Care Act is likely to reach the Supreme Court by the end of the year, but Sen. Richard Blumenthal is optimistic the buck will stop there.

“Nobody can ever be confident of an outcome in this Supreme Court, but the reasoning of the prior ACA cases would argue strongly that they would uphold the ACA again despite this attack,” Blumenthal said Friday following a roundtable discussion at Stamford Hospital on the Obama Administration’s signature but controversial landmark legislation.

Fears about the stability of the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, which extended health care coverage to thousands of previously uninsured Americans, spiked after a federal judge ruled in December that the ACA could not stand without the individual mandate, which Republicans repealed as part of the 2017 tax law.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear arguments July 9 in the case, which challenges the federal judge’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional. While some legal scholars have suggested the ruling will be overturned, Blumenthal said he does expect the traditionally conservative 5th District court to side with the federal judge and send the case to the Supreme Court.

Obamacare still lives, but Trump’s rule on HRAs may remake health insurance in U.S.
By JOHN TOZZI / BLOOMBERG / Los Angeles Times

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks after a meeting with Senate Republicans in July 2017. Frustrated after attempts to repeal Obamacare fell apart in the Republican-controlled Senate, President Trump pledged to use executive power to remake healthcare markets. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump’s attempt to transform American health insurance is almost complete.

Twenty months ago, frustrated after attempts to repeal Obamacare fell apart in the Republican-controlled Senate, Trump pledged to use executive power to do what Congress failed to legislate. An executive order set in motion regulations to promote “healthcare choice and competition across the United States.”

On Thursday, the administration finished the last of three rules to do just that — advancing conservative policies without undoing the central framework established by the ACA.

Together, the changes have loosened Obama-era restrictions on short-term health plans that don’t meet the ACA’s standards. They’ve permitted small employers to join together to buy lightly regulated coverage called association health plans. And the rule published Thursday gives employers, particularly small businesses, more flexibility to steer tax-exempt dollars to employees for healthcare.

The administrative actions are far short of repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act, the law that expanded coverage to about 20 million people. Many of the ACA’s elements remain largely intact, including billions of dollars in subsidies, strict standards for insurance plan design, and rules that protect people with preexisting medical conditions.

Student Loan Benefits And Other 401(K) Developments

Diane M. Morgenthaler and Jeffrey M. Holdvogt recently presented the webinar “Student Loan Benefits and Other 401(k) Developments” at the Worldwide Employee Benefits Network Chicagoland program. In the presentation, they discussed a variety of new 401(k) trends and developments, including:

- Employer options for student loan benefits and related considerations;

- The IRS’s recent expansion of its determination letter program to certain hybrid and merged plans; and

- New changes to EPCRS, the IRS’s comprehensive program for correcting tax-qualified plan failures.

Please see full Presentation below for more information.

CVS Health unveils new benefits management tool
By Caroline Hroncich & Evelina Nedlund / Employee Benefit Adviser

More in Benefit management Healthcare benefits Benefit strategies Benefit administration systems HR Technology Wellness programs CVS
CVS Health has a new health and wellness benefit management service for its PBM clients.

The tool, Vendor Benefit Management, is meant to help employer clients contract, implement and manage third-party health and wellness vendors. Clients can use the tool to access negotiated pricing, member eligibility verification, billing and reporting, CVS Health said Tuesday.

Derica Rice, president of CVS Caremark, the PBM business of CVS Health, says the company was looking to ease some administrative burden on clients by creating a solution where they can access health and wellness vendors in one place.

He says the company found that clients wanted a tool that would allow members to more easily access wellness benefits.

Required Minimum Distribution Mistakes to Avoid
Even a small miscalculation can result in big taxes and penalties.
By Rodney Brooks, Contributor / U.S. News & World Report

TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT accounts are tax-deferred, not tax-free. As baby boomers turn 70, they must soon begin mandated withdrawals and pay the taxes on the money they tucked into retirement accounts over several decades.

A required minimum distribution is the amount retirement account owners must withdraw from their IRAs and 401(k)s each year. When you take these withdrawals, you also have to pay taxes on each distribution. Retirement account withdrawals are required after age 70 1/2, except for Roth IRAs, which do not have distribution requirements for the original account owner.

It can be somewhat complicated to calculate your required minimum distribution, especially if you have multiple retirement accounts. If you miss a distribution or withdraw the incorrect amount, you could trigger big tax penalties. "There are tax consequences once you reach the point of taking RMDs," says Jared Snider, a senior wealth advisor at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City. "The biggest mistakes all relate to taxes."

Required minimum distribution mistakes include:

Forgetting a RMD.
Failing to consult a financial professional.
Making no long-term plan for required withdrawals.
Not realizing that distributions count as income.
Missing a RMD deadline.
Withdrawing the wrong amount.
Assuming 401(k)s and IRAs have the same RMD rules.

Healthcare breaches reported in May exposed data on 2 million people
JESSICA KIM COHEN / Modern Healthcare

Nearly 2 million people had data exposed in healthcare breaches reported to the federal government last month, more than double the number whose data was exposed in April-reported incidents.

But May had fewer breaches reported than April, which marked the highest number of healthcare breaches reported in a single month since HHS' Office for Civil Rights began maintaining its database in 2010.

California passes budget with health insurance for some undocumented immigrants

California lawmakers on Thursday passed a budget that would make the state the first to offer health insurance benefits to undocumented immigrants.

The benefits, included in a nearly $215 billion budget, would make low-income immigrants without legal status between the ages of 19 and 25 eligible for Medicaid. An estimated 90,000 people would qualify for the program, which would cost about $98 million a year.


Monday, 06/10/19 - Regulators must scrutinize advice by insurance agents


Wednesday, 06/12/19 - Colonial Life leads voluntary benefits industry in sales growth – again

Thursday, 06/13/19 - I Sold Aetna To Fix A Broken Healthcare System. Here’s Why.

Friday, 06-14-09 - Florida Company Sued Over Sales of Skimpy Health Plans
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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor