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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.
  Thursday, 12/12/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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

Government employees will receive paid parental leave under new bill

The U.S., one of few countries that don’t mandate paid family leave, will guarantee 2.1 million federal workers paid time off to care for newborns under a tentative provision in defense legislation. That would still leave the majority of the U.S. workforce with no paid time off when they have children.

The bill, expected to go to a vote this week, will provide 12 weeks paid parental leave to federal workers who’ve been with the government at least a year.

“This is a huge first step, and a huge victory, for our nation’s public servants,” said Michelle McGrain, federal affairs manager at the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Currently, federal employees have no access to paid family or medical leave, McGrain said, and often must use paid sick days and paid vacation time to cover the time following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.

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Lawmakers unveil details of ‘historic’ federal paid parental leave benefits

The federal workforce is officially one step closer to achieving a long-awaited, hard-fought new benefit.

The annual defense policy bill, if passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by the president, would grant federal employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster of a new child.

A conference agreement for the National Defense Authorization Act, which lawmakers released late Monday night, details the new terms of the paid parental leave program.

The leave applies to both men and women, and federal employees would have access to it starting in October 2020.

The benefit does not, as prior versions of this legislative proposal suggested, apply to federal employees who want paid time off to care for a sick family member or recover from their own serious medical condition.

Federal employees will keep the unpaid leave they currently receive under the Family and Medical Leave Act. They do not, as the conference report explicitly states, need to exhaust FMLA before using paid parental leave, meaning the paid and unpaid leave would likely be treated as separate categories.

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Examining Strategic Benefit Trends: What Employers and Employees Expect — and How Brokers can Deliver
MetLife Employee Benefit Trends

As benefit needs and strategic solutions evolve, one thing remains constant. Employers recognize the need for expert guidance from their benefits brokers and consultants.

Employers rely on their brokers for more than cost savings, although that remains an essential ask. Today’s employers also expect their brokers to advise them on innovative benefits and upcoming trends, administration solutions, and regulatory and compliance issues.

In turn, brokers are diving deeper into segmentation to better understand and recommend tailored solutions that fit the specific needs of different clients. This specialized report, based on extensive data collected as part of MetLife’s 17th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study, provides insights to help brokers tailor their strategies based on employer and employee expectations across company sizes, industry types, and generations.
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Health insurance coverage linked to reduced mortality
By Samantha Liss / HEALTHCARE DIVE

Dive Brief:

In a sweeping study of millions of households, researchers found that people were more likely to sign up for health insurance once prodded to obtain coverage after receiving a reminder letter from the IRS, according to the latest study in the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study also found that the uptick in coverage led to reduced mortality for middle-aged adults, or those 45 to 65, during the two years after receiving the letter. There is no evidence that coverage reduced mortality among children or young adults.

The researchers claim this is the first study to provide experimental evidence that shows health insurance does reduce mortality.

Supreme Court May Back Insurers in $12 Billion Obamacare Case
The justices weighed whether the federal government may walk away from a commitment to shield insurance companies from losses.
By Adam Liptak / New York Times

The Supreme Court seemed inclined on Tuesday to require the federal government to live up to its promise to shield insurance companies from some of the risks they took in participating in the exchanges established by President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for the insurance companies, said his clients had been the victims of “a massive government bait-and-switch.”

But Edwin S. Kneedler, a lawyer for the federal government, said a statutory promise to cover the companies’ losses was ineffective without a separate congressional appropriation of money. “The appropriations clause of the Constitution is central to this case,” he said, referring to a provision that says, “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

Requiring the government to pay the insurers, Mr. Kneedler said, “would impose unprecedented liability on the United States of billions of dollars.”

Surprise billing ban draft: Middle ground leaves few pleased
By Shannon Muchmore / HEALTHCARE DIVE

The latest details emerging on legislation to ban surprise medical billing includes nuggets meant to pacify payers and providers, but is not pleasing either.

The bill backed by a bipartisan group of Senate and House leadership would require insurers pay at least the median in-network negotiated rate for the area market for out-of-network services. Payers have been pushing for some type of provision like this.

It also includes the option for either party to elect arbitration if the payment is above $750. Providers have backed some type of arbitration, but are staunchly opposed to a set rate.

Healthcare-focused venture firms are forming a best practices group for securing health data
Jonathan Shieber / TechCrunch

Some of the nation’s top healthcare-focused venture capital firms are banding together to form an advisory council with the technology security certification provider HITRUST to create best practices for data security for startups developing digital health technologies.

The conversations, spearheaded by the Nashville-based, healthcare-focused investment fund Frist Cressey, were designed to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies throughout the healthcare industry by creating best-practices around data security that large healthcare organizations demand before adopting a new service.

“Our service or our software want to be taken nationwide and everybody gets excited and that’s when you get in front of the chief security officer’s office and they ask if you’re HITRUST-certified,” says Frist Cressey partner Chris Booker.

Baby’s health scare leads new mom to start lactation testing benefit
By Amanda Schiavo / ebn

As a doctor, Canale was used to being able to just order a test if she needed to know the answer to a diagnosis problem. But that wasn’t an option in the situation with her daughter, because there weren’t any resources for checking the contents of breastmilk. Canale also discovered she had some patients facing the same issue.

“I realized I wasn’t alone,” Canale said. “I wasn’t the only person who wanted to know what was in their breast milk.”

That experience would inspire Canale to found Lactation Lab, a company that provides breast milk testing kits.

Employers including Hulu and Beyond Yoga are already offering their employee moms this benefit. The kits give a complete analysis of a new mom’s breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids, and environmental toxins. The results are sent in a user-friendly report that reads like a food label and allows a mom to make informed changes depending on what her body, her milk, and ultimately her baby needs.

Benefits that specifically target working mothers can have a profound impact on employees and the organization. About 37% of breastfeeding moms will leave the workforce due to lack of support, according to data from the National Business Group on Health. When women are able to breastfeed for one additional month, it can result in $4,000 in reduced healthcare claims, according to Health Policy and Planning research. Additionally, employers will realize $3 return on investment for every $1 spent on lactation support, according to a report from the American Journal of Health Promotion.


Monday - 12-09-19 - - Insurers take Obamacare fight to SCOTUS, demanding $12 billion from the US

Tuesday - 12-10-19 - - New life in surprise billing ban as key lawmakers reach agreement

Wednesday - 12-11-19 - - E-Trade boosts employer wellness offerings with acquisition of Gradifi

Thursday - 12-05-19 - -Telehealth is Here to Stay: New 50 State Survey of Commercial Insurance Laws Reveals Progress

Friday - 12-06-19 - - Top 8 Predictions That Will Disrupt Healthcare in 2020

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor