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

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

4 ways the coronavirus law pays small businesses to keep workers
Greg Iacurci / CNBC

The CARES Act, signed into law March 27, grants financial incentives to small businesses that retain workers instead of laying them off.

The measures include forgivable loans, tax credits and deferrals, and funding for an unemployment program offered through employers.
The $2 trillion coronavirus relief law signed by President Trump last week has several incentives for struggling businesses to retain their employees instead of laying them off.

The financial help in the CARES Act includes forgivable loans for small businesses, tax credits and deferrals, and measures around unemployment. They come as employers are getting walloped by the economic fallout from COVID-19.

The provision that may be most effective is a $350 billion loan program for sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, nonprofits and businesses with fewer than 500 employees, experts said.

The low-interest loans, created under the Paycheck Protection Program, offer up to $10 million to fund certain business expenses incurred between Feb. 15 and June 30.

Business owners may qualify to have some or all of their loan forgiven, for the portion used to cover payroll costs (excluding wages over $100,000), rent, utilities and mortgage interest — over an eight-week period.

But the amount of canceled debt, which would occur via a grant, largely depends on how many workers the business retains and the extent to which it reduces their salaries.

Door May Be Closing On Life Insurance Buyers Amid COVID-19
Amy Danise, Forbes Staff / Forbes

Life insurance companies don’t like the unknown. They operate on numbers: Gathering information about applicants, asking a lot of questions, and using actuarial tables to help decide the rates for each applicant.

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing a lot of unknowns to their desks.

“Now because of this black swan event, there are no actuarial tables for this,” says Chirag Pancholi, co-founder of Jenny Life and an industry veteran.

Pinning down accurate numbers for COVID-19 mortality can be nearly impossible. Numbers of total cases are likely under-reported because people with mild cases likely don’t seek medical care, there have been limited supplies of testing kits, and there’s a limited capacity for labs to process tests worldwide.

Climate conditions, such as warmer weather, could decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19 if the virus degrades in warmer temperatures. Socioeconomic factors can also affect mortality rates, such as pre-existing health conditions and access to health care.

“The ultimate rate of mortality from COVID-19 will evolve over time,” says a March 16, 2020, report from the Society of Actuaries.

The financial markets and low interest rates are also roiling life insurance companies, which have substantial investments.

I Asked 12 Life Insurance Companies About Coverage During the Coronavirus Crisis. Here's What They Said

I recently got a call from a client asking if he could purchase more life insurance during the coronavirus outbreak and if he could count on the company to pay out if he gets sick.

To prepare to answer my client, I sent out a dozen emails to underwriters at various insurance companies telling them about my case.

The answers I received were mostly positive but also very enlightening.

The overall feedback was that most could insure him as long as he has not tested positive for coronavirus. Most said if he did test positive, they would postpone offering him any coverage for two to three months after he recovered. Lastly, most said they would not offer coverage if he had any plans to travel outside of the U.S. in the coming months.

What the CARES Act means for student loan benefits
By Amanda Schiavo / ebn

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on employees globally, forcing many to work from home and many others out of work entirely. Over 3 million people have filed for unemployment in the U.S. since the beginning of March, leaving incomes unstable as bills, loans and other expenses loom.

As a result of the pandemic’s impact, on Friday the president signed the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus bill to bring Americans some relief. For the 44.7 million people dealing with student loan debt, the bill provides some welcome assistance.

The student loan related provisions in the bill will allow most borrowers to halt their monthly payments through Sept. 30, with no financial penalties. It also includes a temporary provision that allows employers to contribute up to $5,250 toward each worker’s student debt through Dec. 31, on a tax-free basis.

Statement from GradFin CEO Chris Walters On Inclusion of Student Loan Provision in Economic Stimulus Package

"We applaud the U.S. Senate, House, and the President for advancing a tax-free student loan employer contribution provision in the Coronavirus economic stimulus legislation," said Chris Walters, Founder and CEO of GradFin (www.GradFin.com). "This significant development for student loan borrowers facing economic uncertainty allows employers to make tax-free student loan contributions to employees through the end of the year. We also support the proposal providing for a temporary suspension of all federally-owned student loan payments (principal and interest) until September 30, 2020."

The stimulus bill provides an annual tax exclusion of $5,250 per employee per year to cover student loan payments to employees. The provision applies to any student loan payment made on behalf of the employee by the employer before January 1, 2021. The other student loan provision, the suspension of student loan payments, reduces borrowers' monthly federal loan payments to zero for the next six months.

"GradFin believes that the best way to help the 43 million Americans saddled with more than $1.5 trillion in student debt is to incentivize companies to get involved in the student loan payoff process,” said Walters. “This new tax-free benefit, in addition to our multi-lender bank marketplace and access to student loan consultants, allows GradFin to comprehensively help student loan borrowers tackle their student loan debt. We will also help our customers understand the stimulative impact of the suspension of payments on their student loans, which will help borrowers save in other ways."

The 2020 National Medicare Supplement Insurance Summit has been rescheduled due to the Coronavirus.
The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance

The conference set to take place May 13-15, 2020 in Chicago will now be held June 2-4, 2021 according to the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance the conference organizers.

"We were on track to have a record-setting conference," shares Jesse Slome, director of the organization. "We went from 82 exhibit booth spaces in 2019 to selling out 132 booths and 2020 registration was running ahead of prior years."

The conference has been rescheduled and will again take place at the Schaumburg Convention Center just outside of Chicago's O'Hare airport.
Most of the sponsors and exhibitors are rolling their involvement forward to the 2021 event. "With the continued growth of Medicare Supplement I am confident we will be able to sell out again," Slome adds. “We will make sure a

The 2021 conference will include its free day for insurance agents who market Medicare and other senior insurance products. To learn more visit www.medicaresupp.org/chicago or call the association at 818-597-3205.

To learn more about the 2021 Medicare and Senior Insurance Sales Summit visit the website at www.medicaresupp.org/free.

Evolving Voluntary Benefits Can Address Burgeoning Mental Health Issues in the Workplace
By Christin Kuretich / HR Daily Advisor

Obviously, COVID-19 has changed everything over the last couple weeks. Travel has been cut down. Restaurants, malls, and theaters are shuttering. The markets are down. And, as you might guess, all this takes a heavy toll on your employees. It’s a stressful time for them in many ways, and that will most likely contribute to more mental health issues in the weeks and months ahead.

And, that’s going to come at a big cost. It’s estimated that workplace stress already costs employers $500 billion annually in the form of decreased performance at work or absenteeism—and that’s before this international pandemic.

Fifty-four percent of Americans say they’ve delayed medical care for themselves in the last year because they couldn’t afford it. And, almost a quarter of Americans have delayed medical care for more than a year due to financial issues.

Employers need to help. The good news? They are in a good position to positively impact employees’ mental health. Over the last few years, attitudes and acceptance of mental health challenges have evolved. As a result, employers can now play a much bigger role in their employees’ continued emotional well-being by providing benefits that support mental health care.

What does that mean, exactly? Companies are starting to use three evolving voluntary benefits in particular to serve and support employees and their unique mental health needs in different ways.

Wellness Programs
Hospital Indemnity Insurance
Disability Insurance

CARES Act Drastically Changes Required Minimum Distribution Rules For 2020
Jamie Hopkins, Contributor / Forbes

The CARES Act essentially suspended required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 across the board. However, there have been a lot of questions about what this means for those who already took out distributions, and the impact on taxes and inherited accounts.

What is the 2020 RMD relief?

The bill stated that defined contribution plans, like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b) plans, and IRAs, may suspend RMDs in 2020. RMDs for 2020 were already a bit lower since 2020 is the first year in which the required beginning date switched from age 70.5 to age 72 – unless someone turned age 70.5 in 2019, in which case they owe an RMD by April 1, 2020. However, the new CARES Act allows account owners to skip both their 2019 RMD if it was their first year and had not yet made an RMD by April 1, 2020, and their 2020 RMD.

EverythingBenefits Adds Collections and Payments Tool for Workers on Reduced Payroll
Employees will no longer require pre-allocated paycheck disbursements to maintain their benefit status

EverythingBenefits, the provider of comprehensive, next-generation benefits technology services, announced today the launch of its new Collections and Payments solution. The platform’s latest feature is designed to service employees who aren’t able to leverage payroll to pay for their benefits.

Third Party Administrators and Service Providers including Payroll Service Bureaus and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) with clients who have employees on reduced payroll or furlough will find the service beneficial because employees will have the option to pay for the necessary services including their portion of benefits contributions and 401k loan repayments. Employees who are in these circumstances or who need to take time off to care for family members no longer have to fear lapsing on their policies and other financial obligations.


Monday - 03/30/20 - - Student Loan Repayment Benefits Are Now Tax-free

Tuesday - 03/31/20 - - Post-Coronavirus, How Telemedicine Could Upend The Healthcare System.

Wednesday - 03/25/20 - - Top 10 Employee Benefits Issues in a Slowing Economy

Thursday - 03-26-20 - - State (Oregon) orders grace period for insurance premiums

Friday - 03-27-20 - - 40% hike for health insurance premiums possible after coronavirus pandemic, Covered California warns

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor