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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.
  Wednesday, 08/07/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

Healthcare Blockchain Could Save Industry $100B Annually by 2025
Healthcare blockchain could save the industry up to $100 billion per year in costs related to IT, operations, support functions, personnel, and health data breaches by 2025, estimated a report by BIS Research.

Healthcare blockchain could save the industry up to $100 billion per year in costs related to IT, operations, support functions, personnel, and health data breaches by 2025, estimated a report by BIS Research.

Pharmaceutical companies will benefit from using blockchain to track drugs, thus reducing the around $200 billion these companies lose from counterfeit drugs each year, the report noted.

Health insurance companies will benefit from using blockchain to reduce IT and operational costs in insurance process and health insurance fraud.

BIS Research forecasts that the global healthcare market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 64 percent through 2025, reaching a value of $5.6 billion by then.

“The development in providing efficient healthcare services is extensively dependent on advances in information technology, and particularly in the ability to record and store information easily and economically and share it securely among disparate applications and systems. Blockchain can play a critical role in overcoming the shortcomings and challenges associated with legacy systems,” the report observed.



Did Trump just save ObamaCare? Final HRA Rule is a rare bipartisan win for American workers

Consider that, today, about 80 percent of small business owners say they remain worried about the cost of health coverage. What’s more, over the last 15 years the cost to cover one employee under small group health insurance rose nearly 200 percent — from $2,196 to $6,435.

While a multitude of factors are to blame, it’s clear the “one-size-fits all” model for group plans — where the boss chooses a plan and employees get to choose from one or two flavors of it — is at a breaking point.

But it wasn’t always this way. In 2002, the George W. Bush administration wisely acted to give employers and their workers another tool to manage health expenses: Health Reimbursement Arrangements or “HRAs” for short.

These are tax-free, employer-funded accounts that employees can use to pay for medical costs and, more recently, monthly premiums for a health insurance plan they select on their own.

As leaders of a broad-based coalition advocating for health care choice and competition in Washington, D.C., (White) and an industry disruptor administering personalized HRA benefits for thousands of workers nationwide (Hooper), we fundamentally believe in the flexibility that HRAs provide.

HRAs give employers a way to help those they depend on without entangling themselves in the confusion of health benefit designs. Similarly, they afford employees a vehicle to manage health expenses without relegating them to a one-size-fits-all plan that someone else selected on their behalf.

If you recently put an HDHP in place,
don’t wait for the HDHP/HSA issue!

To control benefit costs,
employers are turning to High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) and pairing them with HSAs to help fill the newly created coverage gaps. Clients and their employees are about to see if that combination will work—or whether it will have unintended ripple effects.

If you recently put an HDHP in place
or increased the deductible on an existing plan for any of your clients, it’s important to be prepared to handle issues that may soon come your way.

Don’t wait for the HDHP/HSA issue to erupt.
Download our infographic with the facts and solutions to create a game plan.

CMS Takes Bold Action to Implement Key Elements of President Trump’s Executive Order to Empower Patients with Price Transparency and Increase Competition to Lower Costs for Medicare Beneficiaries
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing historic changes as a result of President Trump’s recent Executive Order on price and quality transparency that lays the foundation for a patient-driven healthcare system. The proposed rule proposes price transparency requirements that will increase competition among all hospitals by requiring them to make pricing information publicly available. As a result, patients would be able to shop for health care that meets their needs and budgets.

The proposals for calendar year (CY) 2020 includes historic changes that would require hospitals to take the following actions:

Make public their “standard charges” (defined as two types of charges: gross charges and payer-specific negotiated charges) for all items and services provided by the hospital.
Make public standard charges on the Internet in a machine-readable file that includes additional information such as common billing or accounting codes used by the hospital (such as Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes) and a description of the item or service. This provides a common framework for comparing standard charges from hospital to hospital.
Make public payer-specific negotiated charges for common shoppable services in a manner that is consumer-friendly.


NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum
Whether you are an investor seeking access to new deals, or founder and/or CEO of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, this is a must-attend event.

NXT.Services is hosting seven one-day conferences in 2019 / 2020. Each event will feature the founders of 17 start-ups and SME's in the employee benefits space who are invited to present to 50+ venture capitalists, private equity firms, angel investors, and representatives from insurance carriers who have an internal venture fund and/or are seeking strategic relationships.

Upcoming Price Transparency Laws Will Impact Healthcare: Get Ahead With These Three Steps
Forrester Contributor / Forbes

Price transparency has come to the fore. In January of this year, hospitals started being required to publish what were once closely guarded pricing lists to the public. This has caused confusion for consumers.

Fast-forward to later this year, and the White House issued a new executive order on price transparency. Hospitals will soon be forced to expose negotiated prices between themselves and payers. The administration believes that informing consumers on price before receiving care will increase competition.

To get ahead of the sea change that will come when price transparency takes hold, healthcare organizations (HCOs) must:

Differentiate with competitive pricing.
Mandate consumer-friendly billing practices.
Monitor revenue and cost drivers.

Why Refusing To Fund Medicaid Expansion Is A Huge Win For Taxpayers And The Needy
By Kristina Rasmussen / the FEDERALIST

The reality is that Medicaid expansion, whether full or partial expansion, is a bad policy move. It threatens resources for the truly needy, pushes hundreds of thousands of able-bodied adults into welfare, and stretches state budgets to their breaking points.

States have consistently underestimated expansion costs and enrollment, enrolling more than twice as many able-bodied adults than predicted and costing taxpayers 76 percent more per enrollee than promised. Medicaid expansion siphons resources away from the people Medicaid was designed to serve — pregnant women, poor children, and those with disabilities, among others — and gives them to adults who are capable of working. It pushes people off private insurance and gives them taxpayer-funded government benefits instead.

Defining the highest spenders in healthcare
Amy Baxter | Healthcare Economics & Policy / HealthExec

Rising healthcare costs are a huge problem in the U.S., though the biggest spenders in the healthcare system are concentrated to a small population.

At least half of healthcare spending in the U.S. is driven by just 5% of people, according to new research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which reported on the patterns of the highest healthcare spenders. Therefore, the biggest concentration in alleviating healthcare costs should be on this population.

Many in this population of high-spenders follow a similar pattern, with very high spending and healthcare utilization over a short illness as well as those with ongoing high costs from one or more chronic illnesses.

Among the most expensive patients––1.3% of enrollees had high spending consecutively from 2015 to 2017––the average cost was $88,000, about 60% higher than average spending for people with high spending than the last year and about 15 times more than the average for all covered enrollees. Together, this group accounted for 19.5% of overall spending in 2017.

Out With The Old: 3 New Approaches To Enhance Employee Development
Heidi Lynne Kurter, Contributor / Forbes

Small businesses and startups often lack the learning and development budget to invest in their employees. It’s not that they don’t understand the importance but because they’re strapped financially. This requires companies to be creative in how they invest in their employee's growth. Employers who offer developmental opportunities demonstrate they value their people and want them to be successful.

Gartner IT +0% conducted a recent survey with over 7,000 workers asking them to self-assess the proficiency of their skill set. 80% of respondents admitted they lack both the skills they need for their current jobs as well as their future career. When employees don’t feel like they’re learning and growing, they start seeking out new opportunities. This leads to companies losing their top talent to their biggest competitors.

Here are 3 new ways companies, from startups to large organizations, are investing in the development of their employees to keep them engaged and loyal.

Encouraging Collaboration And Knowledge Sharing
Using Internal Resources For Informal Workshops
Stretching Skills Through Mentoring And Partnership

Dignity Health agrees to $100M settlement in pension case

Dignity Health has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging the San Francisco-based health system used a religious Employee Retirement Income Security Act exemption it wasn't entitled to, according to LawyersandSettlements.com.

Dignity Health allegedly used the religious exemption to underfund its pension plan by $1.5 billion. Under the proposed settlement, Dignity would add $50 million in retirement plan funding in 2020 and 2021.

The settlement also requires Dignity to fund the pension plan until 2024 and prohibits the health system from reducing accrued benefits because of a plan merger or amendment for 10 years, according to the report.

You are limping when you should be running

BANG! Gunshot.

He ran as fast as he could. Everything was riding on this. All of his life’s work would come down to a matter of seconds.
Then tragedy. Collapse. Agony.

This is the true story of Derek Redmond, Great Britain’s fastest 400-meter runner and top Olympic hopeful in the 1992 Olympics.

After a strong start in the semifinal race, Redmond fell to his knees. He buried his head in his hands 200 meters from the finish line. Dreams of a gold medal were gone in an instant as his competitors passed him in a blur and finished their race.

This was no cramp. Redmond had torn his hamstring. He didn’t need a doctor to tell him that everything he’d worked for his entire life had ended that instant.

No victory. No medal. Complete failure.

But Redmond’s competitive spirit would not allow him to stay down on that track in ultimate defeat. He made a decision to finish the race.

As he struggled to his feet, tears of pain and despair streamed down his face. He began hopping toward the finish line two football fields away. Step after agonizing step, he would not be denied. After many years of training and sacrifice, he was determined to finish what he had started at all costs.

At this point, the competitors who had already finished the race and waved to the crowds reached the sidelines. But those in attendance slowly began to realize what was still happening on the track.

First a low murmur. Then a cheer. Then a roar. Standing ovation. If you watch footage of this event, you’ll hear how overwhelmed the announcers were –almost too choked up with emotion to comment- as they realized the far greater story happened at the midway point of the track and not the finish line.

Get out your tissues because we’re not done yet.

Suddenly, a man pushed his way through the crowd, jumped the railing, and hurried to the edge of the track toward the injured runner. Security and Olympic officials tried to hold him back, but they could not.

This was Redmond’s father.

He ran to his limping, heartbroken son, wrapped his arms around him in support, and spoke words of love and encouragement to him.

Together, they crossed the finish line as the crowd roared.

In the words of his father, “I intended to go over the line with him. We started his career together; I think we should finish it together.”

Powerful stuff.

Pain. Failure. Defeat. We’ve all felt them.

Maybe you’re feeling defeated because you are having difficulty reaching your goals for your business. Maybe you’re having trouble generating qualified leads or converting them into satisfied clients. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the pace and demands of advertising and marketing your business. Maybe you need help creating content and getting your particular solution in front of the ideal prospects.
You don’t need to limp the rest of the way to the finish line alone. We are here to support your financial advisor business.

Reach out today and see how we can help you reach the finish line. Click here:

Finish Strong,
Mark Ford
President, Castor Abbott LLC


Monday, 08/05/19 - Views Zenefits’ founder is back: What does it mean for the billion-dollar HR tech market?

Tuesday, 08/06/19 - Trump administration considers September unveiling of healthcare plan: WSJ

Wednesday, 07/24/19 - Is forced telemedicine the future of healthcare?

Thursday, 07/25/19 - Industry Voices—How the future of healthcare will be shaped by the likes of Uber, CVS

Friday, 07-26-19 - Insurance Agency Mergers and Acquisitions in First Half of 2019 Shatter Record, OPTIS Partners Reports

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor