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

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


New survey finds health insurance not enough to protect employees against medical debt
Salary Finance

Having health insurance is not enough to protect employees from going into debt over medical bills, according to a recent survey of more than 10,000 US employees by Salary Finance, the leading global provider of financial education and salary-linked savings and loans for employees.

Notable survey insights include:

Having health insurance makes a huge difference in quality of life. According to the survey, 81 percent of employees have health insurance. Those with health insurance are 17 percent happier and 19 percent more financially fit than those without.

Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs are overwhelming for millions. For one in 10 employees with insurance, out-of-pocket medical bills cost more than $10,000 annually, comprising north of 20 percent of the average worker’s salary.

Medical debt significantly adds to employees’ total debt burden, and many people with health insurance still go into debt over high medical bills. According to the survey, 33 percent of people who have insurance carry medical debt month to month. This is in line with data indicating 35 percent of employees who took out salary-linked loans with Salary Finance in the last 30 days have unpaid medical bills.

Medical debt drastically impacts employees’ financial fitness. Employees who have health insurance but still carry medical debt are nine percent less happy and 42 percent less financially fit than those without debt.



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.




Insurance industry M&A hits six-month high
By Caroline Hroncich / Employee Benefit Adviser

Mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokerages have reached a record high with 328 deals in the first half of 2019.

The brokerages leading the charge include Acrisure (39 deals), Hub International (26), Patriot Growth (21), Assured Partners (21), Broadstreet Partners (18) and Gallagher (16), Optis reports. While Acrisure closed the highest number of deals over the time period, this was actually a low for the firm — marking its lowest six month total since 2016, Cunningham says.

While a high number of deals mean there will be fewer small insurance brokerages, this could be good news for employers. Consolidation means larger firms will have additional capabilities — including more advanced technology, analytics and compliance tools for employers to take advantage of, he says.




CommonCensus®

BENEFIT ADMINISTRATION
COMPARISON
 
DARE TO COMPARE





Column: Health insurance companies are useless. Get rid of them
By MICHAEL HILTZIK, BUSINESS COLUMNIST / Los Angeles Times

The insurers’ success in making themselves seem essential accounts for the notion that Americans are so pleased with their private coverage that they’ll punish any politician who dares to take it away. But the American love affair with private insurance warrants close inspection.

Let’s start by examining what the insurers say are their positive contributions to healthcare. They claim to promote “consumer choice,” simplify “the health care experience for individuals and families,” address “the burden of chronic disease” and harness “data and technology to drive quality, efficiency, and consumer satisfaction.” (These claims all come from the website of the industry’s lobbying organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

But the private insurers’ central position in America’s system is an anachronism dating back some 75 years. The sooner it’s dispensed with, the better -- and healthier -- America will be. The next time a debate moderator asks presidential candidates if they favor doing away with private insurance, let’s see all the hands go up.



 
NXT

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.
LEARN MORE...





Telehealth use jumps at inpatient settings
Shannon Muchmore / HEALTHCAREDIVE

The use of telehealth services has surged in inpatient settings but remains relatively flat for outpatient locations, according to a pair of surveys released Tuesday by data and analytics company Definitive Healthcare.

Providers in both care settings are planning to invest in the technology going forward, with 90% slated to do so in the next 18 months, according to the surveys.

Cost is the primary barrier to adoption for inpatient providers. One in five outpatient respondents also cited "satisfaction with the practice's current solutions and services" as a primary obstacle to adoption.



U.S. Employers Shifting Toward Variable Compensation and Customized Benefits to Hold Annual Salary Increases Below 3 Percent
Gallagher's 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Reveals Organizations Are Using Spot Bonuses, Performance-Based Compensation and Incentive Programs to Limit Structural Salary Increases, With Many Citing Higher Health Insurance Costs as a Primary Factor
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. / PRNewswire

While economists and policymakers often argue that sustained low unemployment incentivizes employers to raise salaries, many organizations are experimenting with new ways to prevent base salary costs from rising by more than 3 percent annually according to Gallagher's 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Report. Employers of all sizes and across all industries are using variable compensation models and customized benefit options to attract and retain workers for whom the highest possible pay may not necessarily be the top factor in deciding where to work.

The 2019/2020 Salary Planning Survey Report found nearly four out of 10 (39 percent) organizations now use variable pay for at least one employee group. While the tight labor market is directly responsible for the rise in employee referral, hiring and retention bonuses, 20 percent of employers reported using lump sum awards for at least one employee group. And approximately one-third (32-35 percent) rely on variable pay for executive and manager-level employees, while nearly a quarter (22-25 percent) of employers also offer variable pay to lower-level employees, including those already qualifying for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The portion of compensation subject to performance rises from 5 percent for low-level workers to 25 percent for executives.

Additionally, more than one out of four (26 percent) employers indicated higher healthcare costs were a primary factor for keeping salary increases in check. This aligns with Gallagher's 2019 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey, where nearly half (47 percent) of employers noted that controlling employee benefit costs was a top human resource priority.



401(k) lawsuits creeping down to smaller plans
Traditionally the realm of multibillion-dollar 401(k) plans, recent lawsuits have targeted plans with as little as $188 million
By Greg Iacurci / InvestmentNews

Lawsuits filed against employers for allowing excessive fees to be charged in their 401(k) plans have, until fairly recently, targeted only the largest entities, those with more than $1 billion in their retirement plans.

However, lawsuits filed in recent weeks have moved down market to smaller plans that 401(k) advisers are much more likely to count among their client base.

Employers TriHealth Inc. and Adidas America Inc., which respectively sponsor a $462 million and $630 million 401(k) plan, were sued last month. Greystar Management Services, which has a $188 million retirement plan, and West Corp., which has a $361 million plan, were sued in May.



Lincoln Financial Group Is Making It Easier for Small Business Owners to Offer Group Benefits
Business Wire / YAHOO FINANCE

Dedicated sales, service and support teams will streamline and enhance the benefits-buying experience for employers to help them overcome time and resource limitations

Lincoln Financial Group (LNC) announced today that it is enhancing how it serves small businesses, with the launch of the Group Benefits Small Business Solutions model. This new sales and service model will provide small business owners with fewer than 100 employees dedicated sales, service and support teams — making it easy for them to offer valuable financial protection solutions at the workplace.

Nearly all small business owners (98%) see value in offering group benefits and many are motivated to offer benefits primarily to retain employees and boost morale. However, small business owners have limited time to manage employee benefits — nearly 40% cite this as an issue, many worrying they don’t have the necessary resources1.



Next Level Expands North Texas Health Benefits Offerings Through Strategic Acquisition
PR Newswire / YAHOO FINANCE

Next Level Insurance Agency, a Dallas-based healthcare consulting and brokerage firm, announces the recent acquisition of A&H Benefits. This purchase marks the agency's third acquisition over the last 18 months, making Next Level one of the fastest growing boutique employee benefits agencies in North Texas.

A&H Benefits has supported growing, small to mid-size companies for over 20 years to make a lasting impact in the North Texas community for over 100 local businesses. They work with business owners to secure affordable healthcare for their employees to provide a robust benefits suite; including executive benefits and retirement solutions. This one-stop-shop simplifies the burden of cumbersome administration for businesses looking to optimize and scale their operation.



The Tax Bite From Selling Your Insurance Policy to Investors
Larry Light Contributor / Forbes

Selling an insurance policy you no longer need can be a good way to raise cash. Usually, this happens if a policyholder’s spouse has died, the holder can’t afford to pay the premiums or has a terminal illness. With these so-called life settlements, investors buy your policy at a discount and, as the beneficiaries, cash in when you die. The market for policies dipped after the recession. But the concept has bounced back, according to Conning researchers.

What about the tax consequences of such sales, though? This can be tricky. Term policies, for instance, don’t build up a cash value (the proceeds from investing the premiums). Life polices do have that feature. All this is part of the calculation. For some insight, we turn to our tax maven, Bruce Bell, an attorney at the Chicago office of Schoenberg, Finkel, Newman and Rosenberg:



In 1 Powerful Sentence, Mark Cuban Just Gave Every Company in America a Harsh Wake-up Call
It's a simple statement, with profound implications.

There's been a lot of talk regarding how NBA players have really taken control of their league, with the most talented players teaming up behind the scenes to play together or asking to be traded to a different team if they're not happy with their situation.

"Some feel that the player movement we have seen ... is a problem," wrote Cuban. "I don't. I think it is exactly what we should expect, and it reflects what is happening in the job market across industries in our country."

And then, Cuban drops a major truth bomb that should wake up company executives across the country:

"Now the onus is on employers to keep their best employees happy."







  Archives

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, 08/07/19 - Healthcare Blockchain Could Save Industry $100B Annually by 2025

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


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