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.
  Monday, 09/30/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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



Online comparison shopping for healthcare services increased 257% since 2012: UnitedHealthcare survey
Andrea Park / BECKER'S HEATLH IT & CIO REPORT

More than one-third of Americans now use the internet or mobile apps to compare pricing for healthcare services, representing a steady increase in online comparison shopping over the last several years, per a new UnitedHealthcare report.

The fourth annual Consumer Sentiment Survey polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults about their technology use with regards to healthcare. Among all age groups, 20 percent said the internet or an app is the first source they look to for information about health conditions or symptoms, including 30 percent of millennials and one-quarter of Gen Z. Healthcare professionals, however, ranked highest of any group, at nearly 50 percent.

Additionally, 37 percent of respondents said they use the internet to comparison shop for healthcare services — a 257 percent increase from 2012. Of those online comparison shoppers, 80 percent said the experience was "very" or "somewhat" helpful, and almost 40 percent said their online research had influenced a change in their healthcare facility, provider or both.

View the full results of the survey here. https://newsroom.uhc.com/health/Consumer-sentiment-survey-2019.html



ICMG Annual Conference
Orlando, Florida, January 29-30, 2020
ICMG's Annual Conference has a history of offering networking events where executives from insurance and financial product manufacturers and distributors meet and successfully develop business partnerships. Our next conference will be no exception!

Those that have attended for several years know the ICMG Annual Conference is the place to network and get deals done. If you're looking for a new product, someone to design a new product for you, or you're looking for distribution for new or existing products, chances are you can find what you're looking for at the ICMG Annual Conference.

WHO ATTENDS: Senior level executives and decision-makers from insurance carriers, fraternal, and financial organizations, marketing organizations and distributors, operational and sales support providers, and others involved in creating business relationships and strategic alliances.

See More and watch the video to get a feel of what you can expect at an ICMG Annual Conference!




Scammers charged Medicare $2 billion for DNA tests that people didn’t need
Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) via AP / MarketWatch

Federal agents took down an alleged Medicare fraud scheme Friday that exploited seniors’ curiosity about genetic medicine by enticing them to get their cheeks swabbed for unneeded DNA tests. Medicare was billed about $2 billion.

Dubbed “Operation Double Helix,” the crackdown targeted telemarketing companies, doctors and labs, in a joint effort by the FBI, U.S. attorneys’ offices, and the Health and Human Services inspector general. More than 30 people were charged around the country.

The alleged scam flourished at a time when many people are getting DNA tests to trace back their family heritage.



GoodRx acquires telemedicine company HeyDoctor to add virtual healthcare services
by Heather Landi / Fierce Healthcare

GoodRx launched in 2011 as a prescription savings website and mobile app offering cost-comparison tools and medication discounts. The company is now expanding into healthcare services with the acquisition of telemedicine company HeyDoctor.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. GoodRx was valued at $2.8 billion in August 2018 after the private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC took a major stake, according to Bloomberg.

With the acquisition, the Santa Monica, California-based company has rebranded the telemedicine service as GoodRx Care. Patients can receive an online medical visit with a board-certified medical professional to get treatment, prescriptions and lab tests for routine medical issues, the company said. Online consultations start at $20, and the company offers virtual visits for 18 conditions including birth control, smoking cessation, urinary tract infections, HIV testing, hepatitis C screening and naloxone for opioid overdose.



NXT  
NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum




GM to cover health insurance costs for striking workers, as sources say no deal in site
ABC News

General Motors has reversed course and agreed to resume paying health insurance costs for striking workers, as union sources tell ABC News Friday that a deal is not likely to be reached before the week is up.

GM faced widespread backlash when, three days after early 50,000 union workers walked off their jobs on the night of Sept. 15, starting a nationwide strike at General Motors, the company said it would cease paying the costs of workers’ healthcare, effectively shifting the costs instead of to a union fund.
GM on Friday confirmed in a statement to ABC News that it has chosen to keep “all benefits fully in place for hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care, including vision, prescription and dental coverage.”

In a letter sharing the update that health coverage was back, UAW vice president Terry Dittes called GM’s actions “another attempt to toy with our lives and the lives of our families, they say, GM health care will be back on.”

Dittes also shared a letter he wrote to GM with ABC News, telling them: “There is no doubt that public sentiment see these actions of GM as a shameful act!



Employer-based coverage is unaffordable for low-wage workers
Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation / Axios

By the numbers: The Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of employer health benefits illustrates this divide.

Roughly 36 million American workers earn $25,000 per year or less — retail workers, personal care attendants, warehouse workers and many more.

Just 33% of workers at lower-wage firms offering health benefits are covered by their employer’s health benefits, well below the 63% share at other firms offering coverage.

These low-wage workers pay an average of $7,000 per year just toward the premium for a family plan.

Workers in low-wage firms also face much higher deductibles: a $2,679 annual single deductible, while at other firms, the average is $1,610.

The bottom line: There is no way to gild this lily — that is the definition of unaffordable. And family coverage isn’t even available to these workers much of the time.



Adviser: Now's the time to revisit parental leave policies
Rina Russo / CRAINS'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Across the country, state and local governments are passing legislation requiring that employers provide their new-parent employees with some amount or form of paid parental leave. New York and California have, in the past few years, made paid parental leave a requirement for employers in those states.

While Ohio employers are generally not required under federal or state law to provide paid maternity or paternity leave benefits to new parents working here, in a tight labor market, some Ohio employers have decided to offer paid parental leave benefits to attract and retain talented employees.

When Ohio employers do provide paid parental leave benefits to employees, however, they must be careful to do so in a way that is nondiscriminatory.

At one time, it was common for employers to offer maternity leave to new- mother employees, but not offer any leave to new fathers. However, in 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its most recent enforcement guidance for employers on parental leave policies:



Voya retirement chief talks M&A, fee pressure and emerging 401(k) fraud
Charlie Nelson oversees one of the largest retirement-plan record-keeping operations
By Greg Iacurci / InvestmentNews

Charles Nelson, chief executive of retirement and employee benefits at Voya Financial Inc., oversees one of the largest defined-contribution plan record-keeping businesses in the U.S., administering $304 billion in retirement assets as of June 30.

Mr. Nelson, who goes by Charlie, has a long history in the retirement industry. He served as president of retirement services for Great-West Financial until 2014, when the company merged its record-keeping operations with those of sister company Putnam Investments and newly acquired JPMorgan Retirement Plan Services to create Empower Retirement.

InvestmentNews sat down with Mr. Nelson, who assumed his leadership role at Voya in 2015, to discuss the DC plan market, big M&A deals and why Voya spends more on cybersecurity than on marketing.



Health insurance CEO resigns after DUI arrest becomes public
by Amanda Watts, Eric Levenson and Sheena Jones, CNN

The CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, whose June arrest for driving under the influence became public last week, resigned Wednesday amid accusations of a coverup. (Photo credit: BlueCross BlueShield of NC)

"Throughout my life, I have been dedicated to one thing: helping people live longer, happier and better lives through access to affordable healthcare," the CEO, Patrick Conway, said in announcing his resignation. "Today, I am ashamed, embarrassed and sorry about my actions on June 22nd. I am especially sorry for the pain I have caused my family, friends and colleagues."

Conway is facing several charges, including one count of driving while impaired, one count of reckless driving and two counts of misdemeanor child neglect stemming from a June 22 incident. The arrest was first reported last week by CNN affiliate WRAL.





  Archives

Monday, 09/23/19 - UAW workers claim they were blindsided by health insurance switch


Tuesday, 09/24/19 - GM caves on increasing employee health costs


Wednesday, 09/25/19 - Healthcare May Eventually Become A Bigger Business For Best Buy Than Selling Electronics


Thursday, 09/26/19 - Mayo Clinic, Google to Form Healthcare Partnership



Friday, 09/27/19 -
American Airlines sees engagement soar with new benefits tech


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