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Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 

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  Daily Insurance ReportFriday, 10/20/17

Trump said he ended critical Obamacare payments because they're a bail out for insurers — here's how they really work
Bob Bryan / Business Insider
But analysts say the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments were not a "bail out" for insurers and that insurance companies weren't really making a "fortune" off of Obamacare due to the payments.
One of the biggest reasons that insurers were withdrawing from the Obamacare individual insurance exchanges was due to financial losses on the exchanges because the pool of people being insured was sicker and older than expected.
While analysis shows this issue was stabilizing, it's clear that no insurer was raking in money from the exchange business where CSR payments applied.
As for the claim that CSR payments were a "bail out," much of that is in the eye of the beholder. If one, however, defines a bail out as the federal government providing monetary relief for an industry due to a business model failure — think federal funding for the banking industry in the financial crisis — then CSR payments don't really.
CSR payments were provided to insurers not because their business model failed in the Obamacare market, but to defray the costs associated with providing Americans cheaper plans mandated by the law itself.

Life / Health / Employee Benefits

24 senators co-sponsor bipartisan ObamaCare deal
Jessie Hellmann, The Hill
The bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare's markets has 24 co-sponsors, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced Thursday.
Twelve Republicans and 12 Democrats signed on to the bill, which would continue ObamaCare's insurer subsidies for two years and give states more flexibility to waive ObamaCare rules.
"This is a first step. Improve it and pass it sooner rather than later," Alexander said on the Senate floor.

Deal to prop up Obamacare stalls after confusing Trump signals
By Bloomberg News
A bipartisan deal to prop up Obamacare exchanges has “stalled out,” a top Senate Republican said Wednesday after President Donald Trump created confusion about whether he supports the measure.
John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate’s No. 3 Republican leader, told reporters the pact had come to a standstill as Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the chairman of the Finance Committee, said he opposes the deal. In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan also signaled his opposition.
Trump had personally encouraged Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee to reach a deal with Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, but as soon as the deal was announced Tuesday, he started sending conflicting signals about his stance.

2018 ACA Compliance Checklist
Posted by Mick Rodgers
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a number of significant changes to group health plans since the law was enacted in 2010. Many of these key reforms became effective in 2014 and 2015, including health plan design changes, increased wellness program incentives and the employer shared responsibility penalties.
Certain changes to some ACA requirements take effect in 2018 for employers sponsoring group health plans, such as increased dollar limits. To prepare for 2018, employers should review upcoming requirements and develop a compliance strategy.
This ACA Overview provides an ACA compliance checklist for 2018. Please contact Axial Benefits Group for assistance or if you have questions about changes that were required in previous years.

eHealth gets jump on Trump's Obamacare alternative
Bertha Coombs, CNBC
eHealth will offer short term health insurance coverage starting next month.
The plans will offer fewer benefits, with dollar limits on medical coverage and do not include coverage for pre-existing conditions or preventive health services.
The plans also don't qualify for Obamacare tax credits and they do not satisfy the mandate that all people have some type of health coverage or pay a tax penalty.
However, some people who do not qualify for Obamacare tax subsidies find the lower monthly premiums appealing, eHealth said.

IRS to block, suspend tax returns that lack Obamacare disclosures
The IRS said it will not accept electronic tax returns, and will suspend paper returns, that do not disclose whether the filer had health insurance coverage during the year.
The IRS' move, which will bolster compliance with Affordable Care Act rules, comes as the Trump administration takes other steps to undercut the law.
The penalty for not having some form of health coverage in 2017 is the higher of 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per adult.
Dan Mangan, CNBC.com
The Internal Revenue Service, in a new policy, says it will block or suspend processing of 2017 income tax returns that do not comply with Obamacare rules requiring filers to disclose their health insurance status.
The IRS' move to tighten Americans' compliance with the Affordable Care Act comes even as the Trump administration remains hostile to that health law and takes steps to undercut it.
"Taxpayers remain obligated to follow the law and pay what they may owe at the point of filing," the IRS said in a description of the new policy.

Other Insurance Related News

Following large losses in the property insurance market, companies may soon find themselves lacking protection against cyber losses.
By Max Perkins, Senior Vice President, Global Cyber & Technology, Lockton.
The recent natural disasters in North America will likely affect not just property insurance – but also cyber insurance.
The large-scale insured losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Mexican earthquakes and California fires – estimated at a minimum of $100bn – mean that some property insurance policies may increase in price.
In addition to insurance losses resulting from the natural disasters, several large cyber-related business interruption claims are expected to hit the property market. For example, Maersk, Merck and others suffered outages from the Not-Petya cyber-attack this summer.
The cyber insurance market will likely grow even more as a standalone insurance product.
The combined result may very likely be that insurers fully exclude protection from cyber-related losses, or charge high premiums to continue providing this coverage. Consequently, the cyber insurance market will likely grow even more as a standalone insurance product.

Musicians investing in terrorism insurance following Vegas attack
By Chris Perez, New York Post
There’s been a high demand for terrorism insurance in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre — with artists from all music genres reportedly looking to invest in policies for their concerts.
“Now more than ever they are targets,” explained Steves Rodriguez, business manager for the all-girl pop group, Fifth Harmony.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter this week, he and other managers described how musicians were taking out terrorism insurance policies now — more than ever before — following the deadly mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1.

Hub acquires Maine-based employee benefits firm
by Lyle Adriano
Hub acquires Maine-based employee benefits firm Hub International Limited has just acquired the assets of Graffam Insurance Group.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Celebrate excellence in insurance. Join us at the Insurance Business Awards in Chicago.
The Cumberland Center, Maine-based Graffam specializes in employee benefits. Graffam primarily serves businesses in the Maine and New Hampshire areas.
Graffam is the latest in a series of acquisitions made by Hub this year. Earlier this month, Hub acquired Rural Alaska Insurance Agency in Alaska. In all, Hub has completed more than 30 acquisitions to date.

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor