House passes $1.7 trillion spending package: 6 healthcare takeaways
Ayla Ellison / BECKER'S Hospital CFO Report / / Read Article

The House voted 220-213 to pass the Build Back Better Act. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it is likely to be revised. The Senate is hoping for a vote before the end of the year, according to NBC News.

Six healthcare takeaways:

1. The legislation includes an extension of pandemic-era ACA subsidies. The subsidies have increased ACA enrollment by more than 2 million this year, according to CNBC. Under the bill, the enhanced premium subsidies would be extended through 2025.

2. The bill includes ACA premium subsidies for low-income Americans in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid.

3. The bill includes a provision to allow Medicare parts B and D to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers on certain drugs, according to NBC News.

4. The bill extends new hearing benefits to Medicare beneficiaries, including coverage of a new hearing aid every five years.

5. The bill includes a $35 cap on monthly insulin expenses under Medicare and a $2,000 per-year cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, according to CNBC.

6. The package includes four weeks of federal paid family and medical leave.



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Over half of workers will enroll in new benefits
PRNewswire / Yahoo Finance / / Read Article

Unum's research among 1,500 full-time U.S. workers in August 2021 found new trends due to the ongoing pandemic:

  • Over half (57%) of workers plan to enroll in benefits they were not enrolled in last year.
  • More than two thirds (68%) of workers say they are more concerned about planning for their family's financial needs.
  • 66% of workers are more interested or aware of the employee benefits their company provides; this number highest among Millennials (78%) and Gen Z (73%).
  • 2 in 3 workers (67%) plan to pay more attention and spend more time reviewing their employee benefits.
  • 42% of workers are concerned about their mental health; these numbers are highest among Millennials (55%).


Employer-Sponsored Retirement and Health Plans: What You Need to Know for Year-End
JD Supra / / Read Article

While year-end is ordinarily a busy time for companies, the number of COVID-19-related pieces of legislation and developments present additional items employers and plan sponsors must address in wrapping up 2021.

As we approach the 19th month of the pandemic, employers continue to face the daily challenges of adjusting their workplaces and personnel to accommodate the hardships associated with COVID-19. As part of such adjustments, employers and plan sponsors must take into consideration the impact of COVID-19-related legislation and guidance on their health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. In addition, employers and plan sponsors should be aware of other non-COVID-19-related legal developments within the health and welfare and retirement space as the year comes to a close.

This client alert provides insight to employers and plan sponsors on the impact and implications associated with new health and welfare and retirement benefits legislation and guidance, including the CARES Act, SECURE Act, ARPA COBRA tax credits, CAA No Surprises Act, required qualified retirement plan amendments, updates to the EPCRS, and more.







What works for long-term care and what doesn’t
Stephen A. Moses / McKnight's Long-Term Care News / / Read Article

The lessons of long-term care history are clear. Public programs have diverted the public from responsible planning and left too many people dependent on welfare-financed nursing home care. The private sector has interceded repeatedly with preferred options such as assisted living, private insurance and home care.

The solution is very clear. Reduce dependency on Medicaid by retargeting that program to the neediest. The most important step is to eliminate or vastly reduce Medicaid’s home equity exemption so people have a stronger reason to plan responsibly for long-term care. Use some of the savings to incentivize personal responsibility and planning.



What’s in store for the Long Term Care Act? (Washington State)
Aaron Kunkler / STATE OF REFORM / / Read Article

Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43rd LD) said Democrats in the legislature are working to address some of the hiccups they’ve encountered in the program, including a number of policy fixes.

“This is a top priority issue for us and something that House and Senate Democrats have been talking about,” Macri said.

Some of those adjustments could be providing limited and voluntary exemptions for people who live out of state, but work in Washington. There’s also proposed carveouts for veterans, temporary workers and military spouses.

There’s also work to be done on looking at the portability of the benefit in case a worker pays into the system but moves out of state and tries to access the benefit. However, this will likely be complicated because long term care services vary by state, Macri said. In addition, lawmakers will be considering near-retirees and creating a vesting approach for them to access the benefit. The current statute requires residents to pay in for 10 years before they’re eligible for benefits, or for three of the previous six years before applying, according to the Seattle Times.






6 Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies of 2021
Mayra Paris and Ana Reina / Denison Bulletin Review / / Read Article

70% of people over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care and support later in life, according to LongTermCare.gov.

Long-term care insurance can help you pay for the costs associated with your long-term care as you get older and need help with everyday activities —such as bathing, dressing and eating— or care related to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia.

Read on to learn about the best companies offering long-term care insurance products.

Our Top Picks for the Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies

Nationwide: Best for Customer Satisfaction
Pacific Life: Runner-up for Customer Satisfaction
Mutual of Omaha: Best for Discounts
Golden Care Insurance: Best Marketplace
New York Life: Best for Financial Stability
Northwestern Mutual: Runner-up for Financial Stability




Why health insurance costs are on the rise
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Insurtechs notched feverishly high MLRs in Q3. But it's not necessarily a mark of poor cost management
Despite strong year-over-year revenue growth, the finances of Bright, Clover and Oscar were whalloped by coronavirus and risk adjustment headwinds
Rebecca Pifer / HEALTHCARE DIVE / / Read Article

In third quarter earnings announced last week, Clover, Oscar and Bright — tech-focused insurance upstarts jockeying for a slice of the trillion-dollar, highly concentrated insurance market that joined the public markets this year — all saw revenues skyrocket due to big membership increases, but notched significantly wider net losses as MLRs reached near-triple digits, or surpassed the triple-digit mark.






US life insurers purchasing riskier assets: Moody’s
Katie Baker / Reinsurance News / / Read Article

According to analysts at Moody’s, the trend of US life insurance companies purchasing riskier assets has been driven by a combination of the low-interest rate environment and an influx of private equity investors.

Moody's Investment ServiceThe Moody’s report shows that US life insurers have increased investments in less-liquid and illiquid investments, such private debt, below-investment grade bonds, mortgage loans, real estate and alternative assets, including hedge funds, limited partnerships, and private equity.

At year-end 2020, US life insurers had more than $4 trillion in total cash and invested assets, of which over $1.4 trillion or 35% was invested in less liquid and illiquid assets, which are typically more difficult to sell than traditional assets like public corporate bonds.


Estate Tax Revenue Collapses 50% as Ultra Rich Skip Out
Just 1,275 wealthy families paid $9.3 billion in estate tax to the U.S. Treasury in 2020.
Ben Steverman / Bloomberg / / Read Article

Revenue from the U.S. estate tax has been cut in half in two years, new data from the Internal Revenue Service shows, even as dynastic wealth soars.

Just 1,275 wealthy families paid $9.3 billion in estate tax to the U.S. Treasury in 2020. As recently as 2018, the IRS collected more than $20 billion from nearly 5,500 families.

The dramatic decline -- to the point where the tax is paid by 0.04% of dying Americans -- is largely the result of the tax overhaul enacted by Republicans in 2017, which doubled the amount the wealthy can pass to heirs without triggering the levy.

Married couples can now transfer $23.4 million over their lifetimes tax-free, but families with vastly greater sums can hire sophisticated advisers to get around the tax. Nike Inc. founder Phil Knight used a variety of techniques to transfer billions of dollars to his family tax-free, according to a Bloomberg investigation last month.



How Harvard Business Review harnessed LinkedIn to become its most powerful social media channel
By Faisal Kalim1 / BUSINESS WIRE / / Read Article

Harvard Business Review has 13M followers on LinkedIn, built up through the sharing of up-to-date news as well as the careful curation of archived content. Such has been the success of HBR’s LinkedIn outreach, it has launched its own TV channel on the platform.

The show “The New World of Work” has HBR’s Editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius interviewing top-tier executives about how they see the future of work – and how their companies are meeting the challenges of a post-pandemic workplace.

The debut interview had Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella discussing what work will look like going forward, in terms of the war for talent, the next generation of workplace technology, and the new imperatives of leadership. The next one featured former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson appears on 11/10.

This ambitious initiative flows out of the substantial growth and engagement HBR has seen on the platform. LinkedIn is a “huge channel” for the publisher. Its LinkedIn group, created in 2010, currently has 2M members (plus 13M following its page as mentioned above).





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Archives
 
Monday, 11/15/21 - - Average Family Premiums Rose 4% This Year to Top $22,000; Employers Boost Mental Health and Telemedicine amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Benchmark KFF Survey Finds

Tuesday, 11/16/21 - - Child care benefits attract and retain employees | Expert column

Wednesday, 11/17/21 - -  Focus on Well-Being Sets Small Businesses Apart to Attract & Retain Talent, According to Guardian Life Research

Thursday, 11/18/21 - -  ‘Free Multimillion-Dollar Life Insurance’ Has Some Insurers Running For The Exits

Friday, 11/19/21 - -
97% of (ACA) enrollees have qualified for a subsidy and most will pay less than $20/month for their plan. - - HealthSherpa

 


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