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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.
  Wednesday, 03/20/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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Beto O’Rourke’s Health Care Proposal Is Not Medicare for All, but It Is Ambitious

While campaigning in Iowa on Friday and over the weekend, O’Rourke backed away from his previous support for Bernie Sanders’ single-payer bill. The former Senate candidate told an audience that he was “no longer sure” it was “the fastest way” to achieve “guaranteed, high-quality universal health care for all.” Instead, he talked up another piece of legislation currently kicking around Congress known as “Medicare for America.”

Introduced by a pair of progressive congresswomen, Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Jan Schakowsky, Medicare for America offers a sort of middle ground between a true, Sanders-style single-payer system—which would ban private comprehensive health coverage—and a more modest public insurance option. (It is extremely similar to a proposal crafted by the Center for American Progress, which I’ve described as “single-payer with American characteristics.”)

The bill creates a new, revamped version of Medicare that would be open to all adults and children. It would automatically enroll newborns, the elderly, and the uninsured. It would also bar insurance companies from selling policies to individuals that duplicated the government’s coverage, meaning it would largely wipe out the nongroup market as we now know it. However—and this part is key—the bill would permit businesses to continue offering private insurance as a benefit, as long as it was as comprehensive as today’s gold plans. Companies would also have the option of purchasing Medicare for their employees by paying a tax equal to 8 percent of their annual payroll. Individual workers could opt for the government plan, as well.

One of the major political selling-points of Medicare for America is that it wouldn’t necessarily force workers off of the health plans they currently receive through their jobs, which many people still like, or at least are hesitant to give up. Polling suggests that support for Medicare for All drops drastically when voters are told that it would eliminate private insurance. While some people would have their current coverage disrupted under DeLauro and Schakowsky’s bill, it wouldn’t force everyone at once into a single program. And that could make it more popular. (The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that 73 percent of Americans back the idea of a national health plan if it would let them keep their current coverage).

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MELISSA THOMASSON / Harvard Business Review

In 2017, Americans spent $3.5 trillion on health care — a level nearly equal to the economic output of Germany, and twice as much as other wealthy countries spend per person, on average. Not only is this a problem for the people seeking care; it’s also a problem for the companies they work for. Currently, about half of Americans are insured through an employer, and in recent years companies have borne the financial brunt of rising costs. Frustrated, many employers have shifted the burden to workers, with average annual deductibles rising by more than 50% since 2013.

This isn’t sustainable for anyone. So it’s no wonder that firms like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as Walmart, have embarked on efforts to re-envision health care for their employees. Warren Buffett has even gone so far as to argue that health care costs hamper economic competitiveness more than taxes do.

How did the United States end up with such an expensive system? Unlike countries that have either government-provided health care or government-sponsored insurance, the U.S. system involves the interplay of employers, insurance companies, health care providers, consumers, and government. In order to understand the cost conundrum of America’s health care system today, you have to understand where the system began — and how increasing costs and technological advances have created new pressures and incentives over time.

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Warren Buffett says US health care must be revamped or it will be left to the government -- which will probably make it worse
Liz Moyer / CNBC.com

Complacency will make fixing the nation's health-care system a daunting task, according to Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway recently joined with J.P. Morgan Chase and Amazon to develop a new model for their 1 million employees.

Buffett along with Amazon's Jeff Bezos and J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon recently formed the health-care joint venture Haven to figure out how to deliver better health care at a lower cost. One of the problems with the current system, Buffett said in an interview for Yahoo Finance, is that health-care providers and others entrenched in the current model don't have any incentive to change things.

"We have a $3.4 trillion industry, which is as much as the federal government raises every year, that basically feels pretty good about the system," Buffett said. "There's enormous resistance to change while a similar acknowledgement that change will be needed. And of course if the private sector doesn't supply that over a period of time, people will say 'we give up, we've got to turn this over to the government,' which will probably be even worse."

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Change Healthcare's Annual Survey Points to Challenges for Value-Based Contracts
Kelly Davio / AJMC Managed Care Markets

Value-based contracts are not yet seeing marked success, according to the results of Change Healthcare's Ninth Annual Industry Pulse Survey. The group’s survey drew on responses from approximately 2000 Change Healthcare customers (including health plans, third-party administrators, integrated delivery systems, hospitals, government entities, academics, and other stakeholders), and the results report on the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare space as identified by these stakeholders.

According to the survey results, 39.8% of respondents said that the majority of value-based relationships within the healthcare market will not contain both upside and downside shared risk for another 3 to 5 years. Further respondents (17.5%) said it would take more than 5 years, while still others (6.3%) said that such contracts may never become a reality.

Among the challenges facing value-based contracts are limits on data sharing, a lack of agreement on outcome measures, and a lack of incentives for payers and providers to collaborate.

Aflac Corporate Ventures Launches Accelerator Program with Plug and Play as Part of Global Expansion

As part of their mission to work with innovative, early-stage companies, and with a view to expanding upon their overall corporate venturing strategy, Aflac Corporate Ventures has broadened their global partnership with Plug and Play to include Silicon Valley and Asia. In addition, Aflac Corporate Ventures, in partnership with Plug and Play, will launch Aflac Ventures Lab, a 10-week accelerator program for startups.

Commenting on the expansion, Nadeem Khan, President of Aflac Corporate Ventures said, "We are very pleased with our Plug and Play relationship, and are now looking to grow both the geographic footprint as well as the scope of engagement with Plug and Play. This is consistent with the recent expansion of our corporate venture fund as well as the focus of our venturing program, which is to support the growth and the business needs of Aflac Japan and Aflac US."

The Aflac Ventures Lab accelerator program will offer select startups access to Aflac's innovation teams and business units, and provide the opportunity to co-develop and customize solutions that address specific needs or pain points. Startups that are successful will then be integrated into Aflac's innovation programs. The Aflac Ventures Lab program will accelerate two cohorts of startups each year, with the first class set to commence in Q2, 2019.

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, they have built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services, and an in-house VC to make technological advancement progress faster than ever before. Since inception in 2006, their programs have expanded worldwide to include a presence in over 20 locations globally giving startups the necessary resources to succeed in Silicon Valley and beyond. With over 10,000 startups and 280 official corporate partners, they have created the ultimate startup ecosystem in many industries. They provide active investments with 200 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and host more than 700 networking events per year. Companies in their community have raised over $7 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Guardant Health, Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club, and PayPal. For more information, visit

Adviser tries to appeal to millennial workers with new benefits
Amanda Schiavo / Employee Benefit Adviser

Today, she works with clients ranging from small employers to large, multi-state organizations, and her passion is creating unique benefits packages attractive to millennials. Schweiger is based in Indiana where she says there is a “major talent shortage.” With millennials being the largest generation in the workforce right now, according to Pew Research Center, so designing packages that will keep them at a job longer than a few years is critical.

“Millennials on average will change their jobs once every two or three years,” Schweiger says. “If you’re trying to attract and retain the largest sector of the workforce you have to have a benefits approach that supports that initiative.”

One of the biggest lessons Schweiger has learned was how not to take rejection personally. Experience wins out in this industry and as a young consultant you will be faced with a lot of rejection, Schweiger says. It’s a tough lesson when you are struggling for the first few years.

“It’s easy to internalize rejection” as a condemnation on you personally, she says, but in reality, it’s just a matter of not being a good fit for that client, or simply bad timing. “It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the situation.”

Signify Health Acquires TAVHealth To Address Social Determinants Of Health

Signify Health, a leading provider of technology-enabled, in-home care and complex care management services announced today that it has acquired TAVHealth, a leading platform for collaborating with risk-bearing and community-based organizations to address social determinants of health (SDOH). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Signify Health manages a nationwide network of 4,000 doctors and nurse practitioners delivering healthcare services in the home to over a million unique Medicare Advantage members each year. While in the home, Signify clinicians frequently identify SDOH needs, ranging from food insecurity, transportation issues, and other factors, capture them in Signify's technology platform, and therefore enable case management referrals. The acquisition of TAVHealth adds a curated network of community-based organizations and the technology capabilities for Signify to directly manage these SDOH needs on behalf of its clients, creating a closed loop between identification of SDOH needs, enrollment into SDOH programs, and coordination of services to better manage and improve health outcomes for members.

Fidelity National to buy payment processor Worldpay for about $35 billion
Fidelity National Information Services has agreed to buy payment processor Worldpay for about $35 billion.
The deal comes two years after U.S. credit card processing company Vantiv merged with Worldpay in a $10.63 billion deal.
Fintech group Fidelity is looking to bulk up in a lucrative yet rapidly changing industry.

U.S. fintech group Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) has agreed to buy payment processor Worldpay for about $35 billion, in the biggest deal to date in the booming payments industry.

The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidation in the financial software and payments technology sectors as firms bulk up to compete with newcomers seeking to disrupt the way merchants are paid.

Change Healthcare Files for $100M IPO Under CHNG Symbol on Nasdaq
Fred Pennic / HIT Consultant Media.

Revenue cycle management company Change Healthcare has filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a $100 million initial public offering (IPO). The company plans to be listed on the Nasdaq Exchange under the trading symbol “CHNG.”

Founded in 2005, the Nashville-based company provides data and analytics-driven solutions to improve clinical, financial and patient engagement outcomes through its suite of comprehensive suite of software, analytics, technology-enabled services, and network solutions.

The Benefits Of Employee One-On-Ones And 3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Them
Heidi Lynne Kurter, Contributor / Forbes

Companies are struggling to find a balance between automation and a human-centric approach to their employee experience. Automating processes can save time and money but if not used thoughtfully can negatively impact retention, productivity and employee engagement.

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money and founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training states employee “one-on-ones are one of the most important productivity tools you have as a manager.” Applications such as 15Five make it easy to automate check-ins and elicit feedback from employees on a weekly basis. Managers tend to fail when they rely solely on these platforms without scheduling face-to-face meetings with their employees.

When it comes to the development of employees, the human element can never fully be replaced . Face-to-face meetings allow managers to ask probing questions, sense body language and gauge responses while creating a personalized touch showing the employee their feedback, concerns and growth are valued.

When conducted properly, they’re a valuable way to build trust with employees. For new hires, they help establish a relationship with their manager and gain a deeper understanding of how the business operates, receive guidance on their career goals and questions. For tenured employees, this helps train them on how to get what they need from their manager and team.


Monday, 03/18/19 - Health Insurance Department takes over Arkansas marketplace

Tuesday, 03/19/19 - Reinventing Life Insurance Agency Distribution Globally

Wednesday, 03/13/19 - Barron's Annual Top 1200 Financial Advisors Ranking

Thursday, 03/14/19 -
First-Time Female Founder Nabs $25 Million to Expand Health Site


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