Daily Insurance Report    Walt Bernard Podgurski
Daily Insurance Report  
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.
  Daily Insurance ReportWednesday, 08/15/18

Commentary: Harris Rosen to employers: Take charge of health care
Harris Rosen, Guest Columnist / Olando Sentinel
Twenty-seven years ago out of necessity, my company — Rosen Hotels & Resorts — created our current health-care template now known as “RosenCare.” At the time, we were embarking on a new venture for which there were few examples to follow.
In 1991, we were providing a traditional third-party health-care plan and anticipating a good year because our health expenses were significantly less than our insurance premiums. How disappointed we were to receive our insurance renewal for the new year showing a rather significant increase in our premiums. How was this possible? Much to our surprise, we learned that all accounts — including ours — are placed in a group, and that our group did not fare well in the past year; so the premium would increase.
After much discussion with my colleagues, we decided to attempt something rather dramatic. We would create our own health-care program by self-insuring and offering our own primary-care medical facility. Fortunately, we were able to convert a free-standing structure that housed our corporate accounting office, which we had outgrown. We hired a physician, a medical assistant and an administrative assistant, and within a short time, we were firmly ensconced in the primary-care business. Simultaneously, we created our own insurance enterprise, Provinsure, enabling us to self-insure. The medical facility would evolve into a nationally recognized, patient-centered medical home.
Now 27 years later, when comparing our annual cost per covered life with the national average, we have saved about $340 million. Our cost is half the national average, while our benefits are far superior. We have no deductibles or co-insurance, and most medications are free. We believe that the savings result in great part from our ability to focus laserlike on wellness and prevention through our medical center.

Industry Voices—We need 'activist' employers to change healthcare as we know it
by Scott Shreeve / Fierce Healthcare
Activist employers are upending the $3 trillion American healthcare industry.
These employers are reinventing their companies’ healthcare programs instead of relying on an outdated system guided by traditional insurers and benefits advisers. Increasingly, such employers, in partnership with new healthcare providers, are leveraging their positions as payers to offer new benefit designs, engage in direct contracting and put care delivery providers on notice about high-value, best-outcome care.
Under the current system, most healthcare providers are compensated according to the volume of services they provide, not patient outcomes. This model of transactional medicine is fundamentally flawed designed to incent providers to prescribe more, treat more, and bill more.
In this paradigm, all parties seem to lose: the patients who can’t get access to relationship-based care; clinicians sprinting on the hamster wheel of fee for service; and employers failing to get value from this ever-more-costly component of their supply chains.

Why emotions (not facts) matter most when it comes to benefit communications
By Dan Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing for Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions / ebn
We recently completed research at Trustmark that told us employees prefer the exact opposite of what many of us have been focused on in the past. Employees respond and act based more on emotional cues than factual ones.
Surprised? You probably shouldn’t be.
Our research found that 40% of employees said the primary reason they enrolled in benefits was, “It’s important to have peace-of-mind.” Another 25% said, “It’s the responsible thing to do.” Employees are making benefit choices with their hearts — not their minds. And, it’s time for HR and benefits managers to start reshaping communications to align with this shift in thinking and behavior.
A deeper look into our research finds that only 13% of employees cite the details of their insurance plan as their primary reason for enrollment. And just 18% of those polled said that liking the details of the plan was even a factor in their decision.

Healthcare Is The No. 1 Issue For Voters; A New Poll Reveals Which Healthcare Issue Matters Most
Robert Pearl, M.D., Contributor / Forbes
The stakes of the November 2018 elections are high for many reasons, but no issue is more important to voters than healthcare. In fact, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that healthcare was the No. 1 issue in a poll of potential voters.
What’s curious about that survey, however, is that the pollsters didn’t ask the next, most-logical question.
What Healthcare Issue, Specifically, Matters Most To Voters?
To answer this question, I surveyed readers of my monthly newsletter. Will the opioid crisis sway voters at the polls? What about abortion rights? The price of drugs? The cost of insurance?
To understand the significance of these results, look closely at the top four:
Prescription drug pricing (58%)
Universal/single-payer coverage (57%)
Medicare funding (50%)
Medicaid funding (40%)
Notice a pattern here? All of these healthcare issues come down to one thing: money.

People Are Raising $650 Million On GoFundMe Each Year To Attack Rising Healthcare Costs
Carolyn McClanahan, Contributor / Forbes
How are people making up the shortfall? A recent story by Mark Zdechlik for Minnesota Public Radio shared stories about the use of GoFundMe to raise money for those facing large medical bills. One in three campaigns through GoFundMe are for medical costs and the GoFundMe site states they are the leader in online medical fundraising. There are over 250,000 medical campaigns per year raising $650 million each year. This is sad and insane. I’ve written about this before – charity is not the answer to funding our healthcare needs. We need to fix the healthcare system and how we pay for healthcare.

Lawmakers take aim to end taxing of benefits for nonprofits
By Cort Olsen / Employee Benefit Adviser
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have introduced separate pieces of legislation set to eliminate tax burdens that many churches and nonprofits are subject to following the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017.
House bill 6460 and Senate bill 3317 would repeal a provision that requires tax-exempt organizations to pay federal taxes on employee fringe benefits such as parking, meals and transportation.
This would require churches to fill out IRS Form 990. This form provides the public with financial information about a nonprofit organization and would make the organization tax exempt from these fringe benefits.

The Ward Agency of Longview acquired by Hub International
By Ken Hedler / Longview News-Journal
The insurance agency founded by the late Jack Ward in 1964 has become part of Chicago-based Hub International Ltd., a global insurance company that is growing in Texas.
The asset sale to Hub will give The Ward Agency access to broader resources to serve its clients, representatives of both companies said. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“I think we wanted to have the resources of a national firm with the local service and personnel,” said Scott Ward, managing partner at The Ward Agency, one of few remaining locally owned independent insurance agencies in Longview. “Our staff will remain the same during the transition. We have local and community involvement. We have the resources of a top 10 brokerage firm.”

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