Daily Insurance Report
Monday, 07/26/21 Walt Podgurski 440-773-1108 E-Mail
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Three Ways Insurance Brokers Can Use Technology To Help Small-Business Clients
David Reid / Forbes Councils Member / / Read Article

The past decade has brought more significant changes to the insurance landscape than the previous several decades combined. The popularity of cloud-based software in everyday life, the mass adoption of Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic and millennials making up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force have all dramatically shifted the needs of small businesses across the country, especially with how they handle employee benefits.

As these changes continue to converge, small business HR priorities increasingly focus on three primary areas: bringing in and retaining talented employees, handling compliance issues and keeping overall benefits costs down. To help their clients achieve these goals, insurance brokers can leverage technology, enabling small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to satisfy the expectations of their employees and increase their business efficiencies.

1. Technology to solve the time drain and pain points of manual benefits administration.
2. A customizable benefits package based on varied and diverse needs of employers and employees alike.
3. A suite of resources to manage HR.

Toomey Re-Introduces Measure to Make Long-Term Care Insurance More Affordable
U.S. Senator Pat Toomey / / Read Article

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is re-introducing a bill to increase the affordability of long-term care insurance. Senator Toomey’s Long-Term Care Affordability Act would allow individuals to pay up to $2,500 each year for long-term care insurance with their 401(k), 403(b), and IRAs without a tax penalty.

“The onset of a chronic illness requiring nursing home or in-home care too often has the potential to financially devastate older Americans,” said Senator Toomey. “This legislation allows Americans to use existing retirement accounts to pay for long-term insurance – a commonsense change to enhance financial security in retirement. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this measure.”

Organizations that have endorsed this legislation include:
· Alzheimer’s Association
· Alzheimer’s Impact Movement
· America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
· American Seniors Housing Association
· Argentum
· Edward Jones
· Long-term Care Insurance Partners
· National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)
· National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)
· National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Jurors convict former Georgia insurance chief in $2.5M fraud
By JEFF AMY / AP / WOKV / / Read Article

It took less than two hours Thursday for jurors to decide that Georgia's suspended insurance commissioner was indeed a “fraudster” and not an innovator, as they convicted Jim Beck on 37 criminal counts relating to more than $2.5 million he embezzled from his former employer.

The verdict was a swift end after testimony that stretched over parts of eight days. Federal officials began investigating Beck as he was elected statewide in 2018 as Georgia's chief insurance regulator, indicting him weeks after the Republican took office in 2019.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial showing Beck orchestrated a scheme to channel millions from the Georgia Underwriting Association through a series of companies into his own bank accounts. Beck managed the state-chartered private insurer of last resort for years before he took office.

Report reveals impact of COVID 19 on Vermont’s commercial health insurance marketplace
Jean Macbride / SAINT ALBANS MESSENGER / / Read Article

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation released a report on the financial performance of Private health insurance companies during the pandemic.

The report found that insurers, such as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Health Group received excess profits from the deferment on nonessential medical care during 2020.

The report expects an increase in costs to private insurers leading to losses in 2021 as healthcare delayed during the pandemic increases the cost to health insurers.

COVID-19 pandemic made it harder for Americans to pay medical bills, survey finds
Taylor Avery / USA TODAY / / Read Article

Americans increasingly struggled to pay their medical bills during the pandemic because of being infected with the coronavirus, losing income or losing employer health insurance coverage, a new survey shows.

More than a third of insured adults and half of uninsured adults said they had difficulty paying for a medical bill. The national survey by the Commonwealth Fund between March and June 2021 asked 5,450 working-age adults about how the pandemic affected their health insurance coverage and medical debt.

This trend has become a chronic problem in the U.S. health system, she said.

In 2005, the number of working-age Americans paying off medical debt hovered around the same rate as it is today, at 34%, according to survey data from the Commonwealth Fund. The amount of debt, however, rose 7% during the pandemic, according to a Credit Karma analysis. In an analysis of nearly 20 million Americans, they reported $45 billion of medical debt in collections.

OP-ED: Are your employee benefits ready for 2022?
By Iris K. Tilley & Gabrielle A. Hansen / / Read Article

The specific measures affecting COBRA include extension of COBRA deadlines until 60 days after the end of COVID-19 National Emergency (the Outbreak Period) and a 100 percent COBRA Subsidy in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The COBRA deadline extensions tolled major COBRA deadlines, including the election of COBRA. After their implementation in 2020, these extensions were extended again in February. This February extension revised the application of the previously extended deadlines to extend them for the lesser of one year from the original deadline or the end of the Outbreak Period. The Outbreak Period is still ongoing as of July 15, 2021, but each individual COBRA beneficiary is limited to one year of Outbreak Period relief.

The ARPA introduced the other major change related to COBRA in the past year: subsidized COBRA coverage. The subsidy took effect on April 1 and will last until Sept. 30. It is available to anyone, including dependents, who lost employer-provided group health coverage because they experienced a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination.

The subsidy has altered the way employers administer COBRA in several ways. First, under ARPA rules, employers were required to provide notices to those individuals who experienced a qualifying event prior to the start of the subsidy, but who could enroll in subsidized coverage starting April 1. Second, it includes a second notice requirement regarding the end of subsidized coverage. Finally, and most relevant to employers’ day-to-day operations, it calls for changes to the COBRA forms that employers use when an individual experiences a loss of coverage.

PrEP, the HIV prevention pill, must now be totally free under almost all insurance plans
By Benjamin Ryan NBC News / / Read Article

In a move that is expected to prove transformative to the national HIV-prevention effort, the federal government has announced that almost all health insurers must cover the HIV prevention pill, known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, with no cost sharing — including for the drug itself and, crucially, for clinic visits and lab tests.

This means the entire experience of maintaining a prescription to Truvada or Descovy, the two approved forms of PrEP, should now be totally free for almost all insured individuals. A prescribing physician, however, must persuade an insurer that Descovy in particular is medically necessary for any specific patient to qualify for zero cost sharing for that drug’s use as HIV prevention.

Carbon Health raises $350M to further expansion plans
By ELISE REUTER / MedCity News / / Read Article

For the last three years, primary care startup Carbon Health has been growing at a steady pace. The company grew from seven clinics to 27 clinics by the end of 2020, and has since expanded past 80 clinics. Now, with $350 million in new funding led by Blackstone’s Horizon platform, it’s pushing toward an aggressive plan for expansion, as it looks to open 1,500 clinics by 2025.

The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2015, and is looking to take on direct primary care competitors such as One Medical and Forward with the fundraise.

Marble Passes 20,000 Member Milestone on the MyMarble Financial Wellness Platform
TheNewswire / / Read Article

Marble Financial Inc. (CNSX:MRBL.CN) (OTC:MRBLF) (FSE:2V0) (“Marble” or the “Company”), an AI-driven financial technology company that educates and helps Canadians better understand and manage their current cash flow and credit towards a better financial future, is pleased to announce it has surpassed the 20,000 member milestone as it continues to establish itself as the most effective digital financial technology wellness solution for all goal driven Canadians.

Today’s announcement has been fuelled by growing partnerships and brand awareness initiatives combined with multiple new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) digital financial wellness products through Marble’s AI-powered technology ecosystem, MyMarble. Since launching the first iteration of MyMarble to its member base in November 2020, the company has seen a healthy average member growth of 30% month over month with an average of attachment rate to the Premium subscription of 7%.

Voluntary Benefit Advisors Chooses PlanSource to Offer Complete Benefit Administration Solution to Mid-Large Market Customers
GLOBE NEWSWIRE) / / Read Article

PlanSource, a leading provider of cloud-based benefits and HR software, announced today that Voluntary Benefit Advisors (VBA), a national benefits communication and enrollment firm based out of California, has chosen to offer PlanSource’s benefits administration platform to its customers.

Photo Of the Day

Monday, 07/19/21 - - Private Equity Is Ruining American Healthcare

Tuesday, 07/20/21 - - Child Tax Credit 2021: Payments to be disbursed starting July 15 — here's when the money will land

Wednesday, 07/21/21 - -
Carriers see positive momentum in key voluntary sales metrics

Thursday, 07/22/21 - - 
Gig Workers Paying 54% Less For Health Insurance, New Data Shows

Friday, 07/23/21 - -
Empower to buy 4,300 retirement plans from Prudential in deal worth $3.55 billion

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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.