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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.
  Wednesday, 04/24/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday 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.

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


Medicare faces insolvency by 2026, with Social Security not far behind, report says
Andrew Taylor / ASSOCIATED PRESS / Boston Globe

The financial condition of the government’s bedrock retirement programs for middle- and working-class Americans remains shaky, with Medicare pointed toward insolvency by 2026, according to a report Monday by the government’s overseers of Medicare and Social Security.

It paints a sobering picture of the programs, though it’s relatively unchanged from last year’s update. Social Security would become insolvent in 2035, one year later than previously estimated.

Both programs will need to eventually be addressed to avert automatic cuts should their trust funds run dry. Neither President Donald Trump nor Capitol Hill’s warring factions has put political perilous cost curbs on their to-do list.

The report is the latest update of the government’s troubled fiscal picture. It lands in a capital that has proven chronically unable to address it. Trump has declared benefit cuts to the nation’s signature retirement programs off limits and many Democratic presidential candidates are calling for expanding Medicare benefits rather than addressing the program’s worsening finances.




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Kamala Harris: If you like your healthcare plan, you're an unwitting shill for the insurance industry
Philip Klein / Washington Examiner

After reiterating her support for socializing the health insurance system under the banner of "Medicare for all," and stating that she believed healthcare was a right, Harris said, “On this issue of this whole dynamic about access to private insurance — of course private insurance, you can get supplemental insurance and all of that, but let’s not be duped by a messaging campaign that has been waged for years by the insurance companies to have you into believing that you need to defend them.”

Effectively, she's arguing that if people like their coverage, they're just being suckered by insurance companies. She knows better.

As for the idea of "supplemental" private coverage being legal, here's what that means. Under the Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plan that Harris supports, private companies would be barred from selling insurance that duplicates the benefits offered by the government plan. While that technically allows room for private insurance, given the wide range of benefits that the government plan promises to cover, it would be a very small amount room. Specifically, not only does the government plan promise to cover benefits including hospital services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, mental heath treatment, and dental and vision care, but it promises to do so without out-of-pocket expenses. That is, the plan promises to eliminate premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. So effectively, these two elements taken together would get rid of private insurance. At the minimum, everybody who likes their current private plans would lose them in the transition.



Tobacco company Philip Morris starts life insurance firm that offers discounts to smokers who quit
Angelica LaVito / CNBC

Philip Morris International is launching an insurance company called Reviti.
Smokers will receive discounts if they quit or if they switch to an e-cigarette or heated tobacco device.
PMI is betting its future on iQOS, a heated tobacco product.

Philip Morris International, the tobacco company that sells Marlboro cigarettes, is getting into the life insurance business.

Called Reviti, the wholly owned subsidiary will initially sell life insurance in the U.K. with plans to expand into more markets overseas. Smokers will receive discounts if they stop, quit or switch to a possibly less carcinogenic product, like Philip Morris’ vaping devices.

On average, people who switch to e-cigarettes will receive a 2.5% discount on premiums, people who switch to Philip Morris’ heated tobacco product iQOS for three months will receive a 25% discount, and people who quit smoking for at least a year will receive a 50% discount, the company said. Premiums for a 20-year-old nonsmoker run about £5 ($6.47) per month for a life insurance policy that pays £150,000 ($194,125). The same premium would buy a £60,000 ($77,650) policy for a 40-year-old nonsmoker.



CBO: over 1 million Americans have become uninsured since 2016
Sarah Kliff / VOX

More than 1 million Americans have lost health coverage since 2016, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds.

The report — which came out within hours of the Mueller report on Thursday and so didn’t get much attention — follows other studies, all suggesting that America’s uninsured rate is rising under President Trump, whose administration has passed new rules that make it more difficult to enroll in coverage.

The CBO estimates that the number of Americans without insurance has risen from 27.5 million in 2016 to 28.9 million in 2018, an increase of 1.4 million Americans going uninsured.

Much of that increase is concentrated in the Medicaid program, where the Trump administration has approved new rules like work requirements that can make it more difficult for low-income Americans to enroll in the program.



ObamaCare robs Medicare
Chriss Street / American Thinker

A new Rand study found that with ObamaCare robbing Medicare of $716 billion, payments to primary care doctors plunged to just 3.5 percent of total program spending.

Despite funding of primary care doctors being “associated with higher quality, better outcomes, and lower costs,” the Rand Corporation was concerned that ObamaCare delivery system reforms “devoted to primary care have not been estimated nationally."

Congressional Budget Office estimated after ObamaCare passed in 2010 that over a 10-year period beginning in 2013, the law would take $716 billion from Medicare to subsidize ObamaCare exchange premiums and its broad expansion of Medicaid.

According to a report by the Massachusetts Medical Society’s ‘Recruiting Physicians Today,’ “physicians who have a lot of elderly Medicare patients may want to change their payer mix.” The report clearly suggested that by dumping or restricting new Medicare patient participation, Primary care doctors could dramatically expand compensation by contracting to accept ObamaCare “younger patients, who need fewer healthcare services than older patients.”

There are no good statistics regarding how many primary care doctors are dumping Medicare patients, but 21% of primary care doctors were no longer accepting new Medicare patients by 2015.



Truth #5 - Costs To Operate Medicare Are Not Lower Than Private Insurance Plans
Denny Weinberg

Conclusion?

As some of this discussion indicates, it is nearly impossible to formulate a clear comparison between Medicare operating costs and "the private market". However, it also appears unlikely that the original Medicare Program administration, when properly compared, is more efficient than the highly competitive private market. That market now provides many low price, high value alternatives for rapidly growing number of Medicare eligibles. It is those same private market players who provide specialized solutions for younger and more often working American families at lower per capita costs than the Medicare Program, the measure that this writer is moved to support.



Fixed annuity could help extend lifespan of retirement accounts
Dave Mason / THE NORMAN TRANSCRIPT

It’s almost impossible to save too much for retirement. After all, you could spend two, or even three, decades as a retiree. And retirement is not cheap – even if you maintain a relatively modest lifestyle, some of your expenses, especially those involving health care, may continue to rise over the years. Consequently, you will need several sources of reliable income – one of which might be a fixed annuity.

You can structure a fixed annuity to pay you for a certain number of years or for your entire lifetime, which is the route many people choose. This is advantageous not only because of what it provides you – income for life – but because it also may allow you to take out less money each year from your other retirement accounts.

Here’s some background: Once you turn 70½, you are required to begin taking withdrawals from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. (This requirement does not apply to Roth IRAs.) You must take out a minimum amount, based on your age and account balance, but you are free to exceed that amount each year. But the more you withdraw from these accounts, the faster they are likely to be depleted. So, when you reach retirement, it’s a good idea to establish an appropriate annual withdrawal rate, based on your retirement plan balances, Social Security, lifestyle, longevity expectations and other factors. You may want to work with a financial professional to determine a withdrawal rate that’s suitable for your needs.



Skipping Breakfast Tied To Higher Risk Of Heart-Related Death, Study Finds
CBS Sacramento

Whether you eat breakfast might be linked with your risk of dying early from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, especially stroke-related death, in the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday.

After a person’s age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, diet, lifestyle, body mass index and disease status were taken into account, the study found that those who never had breakfast had a 87% higher risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with people who had breakfast every day, said Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and senior author of the study.


  Archives

Monday, 04/22/19 - Wall Street, K Street, step up criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Tuesday, 04/23/19 - Elizabeth Warren releases sweeping student debt cancellation and free college plan


Wednesday, 04/17/19 - UnitedHealth CEO says ‘Medicare for All’ would ‘destabilize the nation’s health system’

Thursday, 04/18/19 -
Medicare chief (Seema Verma) says 'Medicare-for-all' is ‘biggest threat to American health care system’

Friday, 04/12/19 - How your health care would change under "Medicare for All"


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