Daily Insurance Report  
Walt Bernard Podgurski,  Editor,  440-773-1108, 
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com

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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.
  Friday, 11/16/18 - www.DailyInsuranceReport.com

The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by almost 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday at 5:05 am EDT, and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits.



Walmart will require workers to travel for spine surgery in effort to cut healthcare costs
Ayla Ellison / BECKER'S HOSPITAL CFO REPORT

Walmart is aiming to lower healthcare spending by requiring employees to travel to certain hospitals for spine surgeries, according to The Wall Street Journal. Here are four things to know:

1. Over the past five years, Walmart has encouraged employees to undergo a variety of procedures, including spine, heart, hip and knee surgeries, at hospitals known for providing high-quality care. As an incentive, the retail giant offered to pay for the full cost of the procedures and travel.

2. Beginning in January, Walmart is mandating the travel for spine surgeries in an effort to lower healthcare costs and reduce unnecessary procedures.

3. Walmart has teamed up with major health systems for the mandatory program, including Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger and Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System.

4. Walmart, which provides health benefits that cover more than 1 million people, will not require workers to travel to designated hospitals for heart surgeries and other procedures included in the voluntary program.


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Since Obamacare Became Law, 20 Million More Americans Have Gained Health Insurance
Kaiser Permanente CEO: Everyone should have access to U.S. healthcare
FORTUNE

In the first six months of 2018, 28.5 million Americans were uninsured — 20.1 million fewer than 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among U.S. adults aged 18–64, about seven in 10 were covered by private health insurance plans in the first six months of 2018. Of this total, four percent or just under eight million people were covered by private health insurance plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges.

The distribution of coverage, however, is uneven, as shown in the data for states that expanded Medicaid coverage compared to those that did not.

In the first six months of 2018, adults aged 18–64 in states that expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income residents were more likely to be insured than those residing in non-expansion states. For states that expanded coverage the uninsured rate was 9.1 percent compared to 18.1 percent in the states that did not.



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Fintech Marketing Playbook: Maximizing Marketing ROI For Fintechs
Ashley Poynter / BUSINESS 2 COMMUNITY

Fintech companies have reached a tipping point and have pressed beyond the early stages of hype. According to the EY FinTech Adoption Index 2017, more than 20 markets are on the verge of mainstream adoption. The index notes that the adoption rate of fintech products has more than doubled since 2015—rising from 14.3% in 2015 to 33% in 2017.

The traction achieved by fintechs comes as no surprise; disruption is in full force in the financial services and payments industries. Early entrants have found novel ways to leverage technology in a way that makes managing finances and payments easier and more secure in both B2B and B2C spaces.

As these trends continue and more fintechs flood the marketplace, it will become increasingly paramount to have a core marketing strategy in place to remain competitive and rise above the noise. This guide provides foundational concepts to creating a competitive, content-driven marketing strategy that can help fintechs gain credibility with consumers, build trust in the marketplace, and become trusted advisors for prospects—all integral concepts to increasing sales.

But fintech marketers need a plan.

Those interested in a plan—a data-driven fintech marketing strategy—can download the recently released Fintech Marketing Playbook (free).
https://contentrewired.com/fintech-marketing-guide-playbook/



What Can We Expect from CVS-Aetna?
by Craig Hasday / Frenkel Benefits

Healthcare in the United States is a mess and it confuses even savvy professionals. With this complexity and significant increases in cost sharing it’s no wonder that many Americans have no primary care doctor and almost half are dissatisfied with the cost of care they get. 80%–90% of annual U.S. healthcare expenditures are for chronic care and some estimate that as much as 25% of costs are duplicative, wasteful or avoidable.

What can CVS-Aetna do about this? They have a lot of clinical resources. Opening up the MinuteClinic model will provide an easy-to-access, front door portal to cost-effective care for acute and chronic conditions – which can help care be simpler. I especially like the pharmacist’s role in this model since prescriptions are the most frequent access point to care. Integrating the pharmacist into care triage to aid in steerage to a primary care provider is a low-hanging fruit solution – and allowing that pharmacist to provide needed advice and follow-up on chronic care treatment can only serve to lower those costs.

CVS-Aetna will have better data available to arm these clinicians with timely care considerations, helping Aetna members take what CVS-Aetna calls the “next best action” in healthcare. And it’s easy to see that this can be supported by seamless electronic medical records.



CMS may allow hospitals to pay for housing through Medicaid
By Paul Barr and Virgil Dickson / MODERN HEALTHCARE

HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday said Medicaid may soon allow hospitals and health systems to directly pay for housing, healthy food or other solutions for the "whole person."

In a speech supported by the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions and Intermountain Healthcare in Washington, Azar said Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation officials are looking to move beyond existing efforts to partner with social services groups and try to manage social determinants of health as they see appropriate.

"What if we gave organizations more flexibility so they could pay a beneficiary's rent if they were in unstable housing, or make sure that a diabetic had access to, and could afford, nutritious food?" Azar said in his prepared remarks. "If that sounds like an exciting idea ... I want you to stay tuned to what CMMI is up to."



Obamacare early enrollment rate drops in first sign-up season since GOP changes
CNBC

A total of 1,176,232 people in the first 10 days of open enrollment chose a plan for the 2019 coverage year beginning Jan. 1.

Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and will run until Dec. 15 for most states.

More than 901,300 existing customers renewed their coverage on the marketplace, while 274,913 new consumers chose an insurance plan on HealthCare.gov.

Obamacare sign-ups on the federal health insurance marketplace fell by 20.4 percent in the first two weeks of this enrollment season compared to last year, according to new federal data.

The tally is being closely watched because fiscal 2019 will be the first year since 2013 in which Americans will not be penalized for failing to have some form of health insurance coverage.



New 401(k) and IRA Limits for 2019
Workers are eligible to contribute $500 more to retirement accounts next year.
By Emily Brandon / U.S. News & World Report

The IRA contribution limit will increase to $6,000 in 2019.

RETIREMENT SAVERS WILL be able to contribute $500 more to 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts in 2019. Workers with slightly higher incomes will also qualify to contribute to Roth IRAs and claim the retirement saver's tax credit. Here's how the retirement account rules will change in 2019.

The 2019 401(k) contribution limit. The contribution limit for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, most 457 plans and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan will increase from $18,500 in 2018 to $19,000 in 2019. The 401(k) catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 and older is unchanged at $6,000. Older workers can contribute a maximum of $25,000 to 401(k) plans in 2019.

The 2019 IRA contribution limit. The IRA contribution limit will also grow by $500 to $6,000 in 2019, the first increase in the limit since 2013.



Medicare Costs Drop As Humana Shifts Doctors To Value-Based Models
Bruce Japsen, Senior Contributor / Forbes

Humana’s shift from fee-for-service medicine to value-based payments for physicians continues to reduce costs and improve quality of care for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, the insurer says, citing a new internal study.

Medical costs were nearly 16% lower for seniors enrolled in Humana Medicare Advantage plans that paid physicians via value-based models in 2017 compared to costs of those in traditional fee-for service Medicare, the Louisville-based insurer’s study, released Tuesday showed. Medicare Advantage plans contract with the federal government to provide extra benefits and services to seniors, such as disease management and nurse help hotlines, with some even providing vision and dental care and wellness programs.




  Archives

Monday, 11/12/18 - PwC's 5 takeaways for healthcare leaders from 2018 midterms

Tuesday, 11/13/18 - EEOC Secured $505M For Workers In Banner FY 2018

Wednesday, 11/14/18 - Oscar Health sues Florida Blue, alleging monopoly of individual ACA health insurance market

Thursday, 11/15/18 - Key Employee Benefits Trends for 2019 You Need to Know About

Friday, 11/09/18 - Obamacare Repeal in Congress Is Dead. Next, a Battle Over Medicare for All


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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor
440-773-1108
Walt@DailyInsuranceReport.com