Daily Insurance Report  
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.
  Friday, 12/14/18 - 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.

Millions of Uninsured People Could Get $0 Premium Obamacare Health Insurance—With a Catch

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), informally known as “Obamacare,” has subsidies that can make an insurance plan’s premiums very cheap. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 4.2 million currently uninsured people are eligible for $0 premiums after subsidies. That’s out of the 15.9 million total who remain uninsured in the country.

They’d have to act fast, as the sign-up deadline is on Saturday December 15 this year. According to Kaiser, the states with the most number of uninsured people who might qualify for $0-premium plans are Texas (more than 1 million), Florida (623,434), and North Carolina (296,892).

But people would also have to think through some of the potential financial consequences. A $0 premium may sound good if your income qualifies, but that is for one of the bronze plans. They focus on providing services with a high annual deductible of $6,200, according to Axios.

Such an arrangement may be fine if someone is healthy and unlikely to use much in the way of medical services, explains NPR. Bronze plans are estimated to cover 60% of the average person’s healthcare expenses, versus the 70% that a silver plan does.

How was Open Enrollment?

We’re interested in hearing how this open enrollment went and what you’d like to improve in 2019.

If you’re looking for a platform that has better partners, full HCM and payroll integration, and all the tools employees need to make the right benefits decisions, we’re here to talk!

Continue the Discussion!
Burk Meyrose: 877-735-0468; burk.meyrose@plansource.com  

Reforming America's Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On October 12, 2017, through Executive Order 13813, you directed the Administration, to the extent consistent with the law, to facilitate the development and operation of a health care system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people by promoting choice and competition. We are pleased to provide you with this report, prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in collaboration with the Departments of the Treasury and Labor, the Federal Trade Commission, and several offices within the White House. This report describes the influence of state and federal
laws, regulations, guidance, and polices on choice and competition in health care markets and identifies actions that states or the Federal Government could take to develop a better functioning health care market.

As health care spending continues to rise, Americans are not receiving the commensurate benefit of living longer, healthier lives. Health care bills are too complex, choices are too restrained, and insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs are climbing faster than wages and tax revenue. Health care markets could work more efficiently and Americans could receive more effective, high-value care if we remove and revise certain federal and state
regulations and policies that inhibit choice and competition.

The Administration has already taken significant steps to improve health care markets by addressing government rules and programs that limit choice and competition and produce higher prices for the American people. Among the most significant actions:


Alex M. Azar II
U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services

Steven T. Mnuchin
U.S. Department of the

Alexander Acosta
U.S. Department of Labor
Download Full Report: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/Reforming-Americas-Healthcare-System-Through-Choice-and-Competition.pdf

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Insurance Commissioner reports over $9 billion insured losses from deadly 2018 wildfires
Dave Jones / California Insurance Commissioner

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With nearly 20,000 homes and structures damaged or destroyed by the Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires, residents in counties across northern and southern California are getting access to burned home sites to confirm the terrible reality of their losses and begin the long road to insurance recovery.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced the results of claims data collected by the Department of Insurance from insurers processing fire related insurance claims for tens of thousands of policyholders. While the numbers are expected to climb, as more claims are filed and processed, the preliminary claims data reflects $9.05 billion in actual losses for commercial and residential coverage, personal and commercial vehicles, and agricultural and other coverages.

“The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and most destructive wildfire catastrophes in California’s history,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “The tragic deaths of 88 people and over $9 billion in insured losses to date are shocking numbers—behind the insured loss numbers are thousands of people who’ve been traumatized by unfathomable loss.”

Product and Fees are Important, but Service is the Differentiator

LIMRA and EY recently did a study that shows more than one third of the time an advisor stops placing business with a carrier the reason is service related. While product features and competitive costs will initially get an advisors attention, ongoing service and support will keep it.

In the last two years, 20 percent of advisors dropped a life or annuity carrier. Poor customer service and advisor support were the top two reasons for carrier attrition.

When looking just at life insurance, 46 percent of advisors cited strong customer service and client experience as why they placed so much business with their top carrier. While advisors typically place business with three to five carriers, they place almost 60 percent of their insurance sales with their top life and annuity carrier, which is why it is critical for providers to stay near the top of advisor rankings.

How good is your mental health care? Depends where you live

Access to physician services and pharmaceuticals is vital–particularly among patients with serious mental illness–to insure patients receive the care they need. However, the likelihood patients receive this care depends on where they live. A paper by Manchester (2018) examines a cohort of patients eligible for both Medicare and U.S. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and finds:

The number of services for SSDI beneficiaries ranged from almost 48 per capita in Minnesota to 23 in Arkansas. Services for musculoskeletal impairments averaged 4.6 per capita, ranging from 6.7 in Minnesota to 2.5 in Hawaii. The greatest variation occurred in services for mental disorders, averaging 3.2 for the U.S. but ranging from 9.1 in Massachusetts to 1.4 in Alabama.

Square adds benefits offerings to payroll app for small businesses
Caroline Hroncich / ebn

IT service management company Square is now offering benefits for small and mid-sized businesses as part of its Square Payroll app, the company’s cloud-based payroll system.

Square introduced health insurance, retirement savings, pretax spending and workers compensation benefits to the app in November. The company has partnered with benefits providers including small business health insurance company SimplyInsured, retirement savings offering Guideline 401(k), digital insurance platform AP Intego and pretax savings provider Alice, to offer benefits to employers.

UN pushes for universal health care on International Day
UN News

Universal health care for all, leaving no one behind, by 2030: that’s the call going out on International Universal Health Coverage Day, which this year falls on Wednesday. Why 2030? Because that’s the target date for completion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which (SDG3), calls for the promotion of healthy lives and well-being for all.

The International Day is supported by UHC2030, a global partnership consisting of Member States, several United Nations Agencies ­– including the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – and civil society organizations.

The aim is to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage, by sharing the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health care, championing what has been achieved so far, and calling on decision-makers to make bigger and smarter investments in health, moving the world closer to Universal Health Care by 2030.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly unanimously endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage: the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care – as an essential priority for international development: in 2017 the General Assembly made December 12 the official UN-designated International Day for Universal Health Coverage.

Cincinnati employee benefits firm acquired
Grant Bailey is managing partner of Bailey & Company Benefits Group, which was acquired Dec. 1 by Illinois-based Alera Group Inc.
Bill Cieslewicz, Managing editor / Cincinnati Business Courier

A Cincinnati employee benefits provider has been purchased by an Illinois firm.

Bailey & Company Benefits Group, located at 625 Eden Park Drive in Eden Park, was acquired by Alera Group Inc. Financial terms of the deal, completed Dec. 1, were not disclosed.

Alera Group, based in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, is the seventh-largest privately held employee benefits firm in the U.S. with more than 1,000 employees. Created in 2016 through a merger of 24 firms, it also features property and casualty, risk management and wealth management divisions.


Monday, 12/10/18 - US health care spending hits $3.5 trillion in 2017, but rate of growth slows

Tuesday, 12/11/18 - Even among the insured, cost of illness can be devastating, Harvard-backed poll finds

Wednesday, 12/12/18 - Short-term plans and no penalty highlight Obamacare sign-up period

Thursday, 12/13/18 - Enhanced Direct Enrollment Pathway for Health Insurance Exchange Coverage

Friday, 12/07/18 - CVS Just Made a Big Change After Closing Its $69 Billion Aetna Deal. Here's What That Could Mean

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Walt Bernard Podgurski - - Editor