Daily Insurance Report  
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com

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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.
  Thursday, 06/27/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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The "Daily Insurance Report" publishes the life insurance, health insurance, and employee benefits news that matters.


A Trio of Trump Rules Will Remake U.S. Health Insurance Markets
By John Tozzi / Bloomberg

President Donald 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 “health care 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 Affordable Care Act’s standards. They’ve permitted small employers to join together to buy lightly regulated coverage called association health plans. And the regulation published Thursday gives employers, particularly small businesses, more flexibility to steer tax-exempt dollars to employees for health care.



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Supreme Court to hear insurers' bid for $12 billion in Obamacare money
Nate Raymond / (Reuters)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether insurers can seek $12 billion from the federal government under a program set up by the Obamacare law aimed at encouraging them to offer medical coverage to previously uninsured Americans.

The justices will hear an appeal by a group of insurers of a lower court’s ruling that Congress had suspended the government’s obligation to make such payments. The insurers have said that ruling, if allowed to stand, would let the government pull a “bait-and-switch” and withhold money the companies were promised.

Moda Inc unit Moda Health Plan Inc and other insurers that sued to try to compel the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make the payments have said the government was supposed to help them recover from early losses they suffered after the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act under Democratic former President Barack Obama.



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California Legislature OKs Health Insurance Mandate
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / (AP)

The California Legislature has voted to tax people who refuse to buy health insurance, bringing back a key part of former President Barack Obama's health care law that has been eliminated nationwide by Republicans in Congress.

The state Assembly and Senate approved the tax on Monday, sending it to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. Newsom proposed the tax in January and is likely to sign it.

The federal Affordable Care Act required everyone to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. But in 2017, Republicans in Congress eliminated the penalty beginning this year as part of an overhaul to the federal tax code.

California will join Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington D.C. as the only governments in the U.S. to penalize people who don't buy health insurance.



Higher health insurance deductibles a sickening trend for Americans
BY AIMEE PICCHI / CBS News / MONEYWATCH

One alternative to sky-high monthly health insurance premiums for many Americans is opting for a high-deductible plan instead.

Those plans come with lower monthly premiums, but their elevated deductibles create other problems.

Deductibles can reach into multiple thousands of dollars -- causing some people to skip care altogether.

Foregoing preventative care or not filling prescriptions can lead to more dangerous illnesses -- and higher costs later on.

Hodgson is one of the growing ranks of Americans in high-deductible health care plans, a form of insurance coverage that trades lower premiums for higher deductibles. Rare a decade ago, high-deductible plans now cover more than four of 10 Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which defines such plans as having a $1,300 deductible for an individual and $2,600 for families.



Employers Boost Benefits to Win and Keep Top Talent
On the rise: student loan aid, telemedicine, telecommuting and lactation benefits
By Stephen Miller, CEBS / SHRM

Employers are enhancing their employee benefits to recruit and retain highly qualified and high-potential employees in a competitive labor market—even as they balance those costs against the potential value to the organization.

That's according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) 2019 Employee Benefits survey, released June 25 at the SHRM 2019 Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.

The survey, conducted March 31 to April 30, 2019, with a random sample of SHRM members, received 2,763 responses. This year's results were presented in a series of online reports.

Ensuring Health

Eighty-six percent of employers that responded to the survey believe health-related benefits are very important or extremely important to their workforce, which may explain why only 3 percent have reported a decrease in these benefits, the survey revealed. But with health care costs continuing to outpace general inflation—and with the estimated cost of employer-sponsored health benefits approaching $15,000 per employee—employers remain cautious about spending in this area.

Among survey respondents, 20 percent indicated that their organizations' health-related benefits have become more generous in the last 12 months, while 70 percent indicated that their health benefits have stayed the same.



Unbiased Survivor Annuity vs. Life Insurance
Brad Bobb / FedSmkth.com

A common practice of married federal employees is to take a survivor annuity when they retire. The goal of the survivor annuity is to guarantee a benefit for a surviving spouse, which sounds a lot like life insurance.

The most common voices heard touting life insurance instead of the survivor annuity (SA) are people selling life insurance, who obviously have something to gain. I would like to offer my perspective on this subject as a fee only advisor that does not sell life insurance or any insurance products. We will also look at a practical example with real numbers.

The survivor annuity (SA) provides a benefit at the retiree’s death, therefore it can be considered insurance, similar to an actual life insurance policy. However, there are many differences between the SA and a life insurance policy. It is important that retiring federal employees understand the differences before electing to forego the survivor annuity or even take a reduced one.

Guarantees

The guarantee is a big difference between the two. The SA is guaranteed to pay out in the event that the spouse survives the federal employee. If the federal employee’s spouse passes first, then there is no SA benefit for non-spouse beneficiaries. The SA is guaranteed to last for the spouse’s lifetime.

Life insurance is a guaranteed payout as long as premiums are paid. One thing to be clear on is that there are different types of life insurance and I am referring to a guaranteed permanent contract. Life insurance is normally owned by the insured and guaranteed to pay out at death of the insured. If the spouse predeceases the insured, then the insurance proceeds can still be paid to a contingent beneficiary.

There is no guarantee that the life insurance proceeds will last for the beneficiary’s lifetime. That will depend on a number of factors such as how much the proceeds were, how the proceeds get invested, how much is withdrawn, and how long the beneficiary’s lifetime is.



Morgan Lewis Wins Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Law Firm of the Year Award from Chambers USA
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Morgan Lewis has been named as Law Firm of the Year in the “Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation” category of Chambers & Partners’ Chambers USA Awards 2019. The awards recognize a firm's preeminence in key practice areas in the last 12 months, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth, and excellence in client service.

With more than 75 dedicated professionals across the United States, Morgan Lewis’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation team advises clients on plan design, qualification, and documentation matters, fiduciary questions, plan investment issues, payroll tax, fringe benefits issues, executive compensation structure and design, and healthcare and other benefits. The team also assists multiemployer plans and their contributing employers, tax-exempt entities, and governmental employers with the unique benefits challenges they face.



3M slashes life insurance payouts for retirees
By CHRISTOPHER MAGAN / Twin Cities PIONEER PRESS

Retirees of 3M Co. learned in late May the company was cutting their life insurance policies nearly in half.

A letter shared with the Pioneer Press said the maximum life insurance payout would fall to $8,000 from $15,000 on Aug. 1. The change affects about 28,000 retirees, a company spokeswoman said.




  Archives

Monday, 06/24/19 - Private Insurers Are Afraid of Medicare for All. They Should Be Excited

Tuesday, 06/25/19 - Lifestyle benefits emerging as key strategy for talent management

Wednesday, 06/26/19 - Trump signs executive order to make health costs more transparent

Thursday, 06/20/19 - Calif. small businesses must offer retirement access by 2022

Friday, 06-14-09 - Florida Company Sued Over Sales of Skimpy Health Plans


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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com