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, 08/23/19 - https://DailyInsuranceReport.com 

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Could next year be the beginning of the end of traditional employer-sponsored health insurance?
BY MICHAEL KOLBER, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR / THE HILL

Could next year be the beginning of the end of traditional employer-sponsored health insurance?The same type of transformation that turned traditional pension plans into employee-directed 401(k)s may be coming for employer-sponsored health plans—and sooner than most realize.

The consequences of this transformation would be widespread, with impacts throughout the health care system, from hospitals and doctors to drug and device makers to insurance companies, brokers and vendors. It could even impact the political debate about single-payer health care.

A new rule from the IRS and other federal agencies could set this afoot. Beginning in January 2020, any employer can give employees pretax compensation to buy individual market health insurance instead of providing a traditional employer-sponsored group health plan.

Thinkers from across the political spectrum have long decried the uniquely American phenomenon of tying health benefits to employment. In addition to creating an artificial linkage between employment and health coverage, generous employer-sponsored health benefits may play a role in driving health care inflation. But two factors have generally preserved the status quo, with about half of Americans in employment-based coverage.




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More than Twice as Many Employers than 10 Years Ago are Planning to Increase Investments in Employee Health and Wellness, Optum Study Shows
BUSINESS WIRE

10th Wellness in the Workplace survey of 544 U.S. employers shows well-being programs seen as more vital to attracting and retaining talent, boosting employee morale

Study also finds digital technologies are increasingly important to helping employees engage in their health and wellness

More than 80% of employers said they are planning to increase their health and wellness budgets this year, more than double compared to 2009 (34%), according to the 10th annual Optum Wellness in the Workplace study.

“Employers’ interest in well-designed, comprehensive health and wellness programs that use the latest digital tech has dramatically increased over the last decade”

The study also found that employers are increasingly embracing digital technology to engage workers in health and well-being programs. Since 2016, the proportion of employers using health-related mobile apps rose by 46%, with now close to three-quarters of respondents reporting that the apps helped increase employee participation. Also, the number of employers reporting that their employee wellness programs include the use of fitness or activity devices increased by nearly 40% over the same time period, with 71% of employers reporting successful engagement by their employees.

“Employers’ interest in well-designed, comprehensive health and wellness programs that use the latest digital tech has dramatically increased over the last decade,” said Seth Serxner, chief health officer at Optum. “We’ve also seen an evolution in the reasons for offering health and well-being programs, with employers saying these initiatives are just as important in attracting and retaining employees as addressing health care costs.”



 
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Telehealth is here to stay, so why won’t employees sign up?
By Walecia Konrad / ebn

“It’s definitely difficult for employers to break down the barriers and get employees to try telehealth,” says Elie Goodman, vice president of marketing at MeMD, a telehealth provider.

“Our data shows that once employees try telehealth, they’ll use it again. But getting them to take that first step is the challenge.”

Then what is keeping employees from making the call, clicking on the URL or downloading the app? Three things, says Stephany Verstraete, chief marketing officer at Teladoc Health.

“First, many times employees don’t know they have the benefit. Second, employees don’t remember they have the benefit at the moment they need it. Third is the notion of behavior change. Employees are hesitant at first, asking themselves is this quality care?” she says.

All three stumbling blocks can stem from a lack of education and communication on the part of the employer, Verstraete adds.



DOL Sends 401(k) Electronic Disclosure Plan to OMB
By Melanie Waddell / Think Advisor

The Labor Department has delivered to the Office of Management and Budget its plan to allow 401(k) participants to receive electronic disclosures instead of paper ones.

OMB review generally takes 30 days.

A report commissioned by the ARA and the Investment Company Institute in 2018 estimated that participants could save more than $500 million per year, assuming about eight participant mailings per year across more than 80 million 401(k) account holders.



UMassFive Adds Student-Loan Repayment Benefits As Employee Perk
By BusinessWest Staff

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced it is bringing student-loan repayment benefits to its employees via a new partnership between Student Choice and FutureFuel.io.

Student Choice teamed up with FutureFuel.io earlier this year to better help credit unions address the growing challenge of student-loan debt faced by the emerging workforce. Participating in this new perk allows credit unions to offer their employees and employees of select employee groups access to FutureFuel’s online portal of automated tools that can help reduce the impact of student debt.



Fidelity says 401(k) millionaires club nearing 200,000 for the first time
BY STEPHEN GANDEL / MONEYWATCH

Nearly 200,000 401(k) accounts in the U.S. have accumulated at least $1 million in savings.

But the average 401(k) balance was up just 2% in the past year, to $106,000.

Alicia Munnell, head of Boston College's Center for Retirement Research, said most people haven't saved enough for retirement.



Sears Retirees’ Life Insurance Payouts Could Be Just $135 Each
By Josh Saul / Bloomberg

Workers who retired after years of folding shirts and selling refrigerators for Sears Holdings Corp. banded together earlier this year to complain when the retailer’s bankrupt shell terminated their life insurance plan.

Those benefits were potentially worth thousands of dollars to heirs of the former employees. Now the Sears estate has responded with a proposal that would pay them about $135 each.



Underused Income Annuities Offer Longevity Insurance
By Ken Nuss

Few adults would go without auto, home, life or health insurance. But the kind of insurance that protects against the risk of running out of money in old age is still greatly underutilized.

It’s called a deferred income annuity or a longevity annuity.

Most people planning for retirement should strongly consider an income annuity, and a new Brookings Institution study confirms that.

The concept is simple. The buyer deposits a lump sum or series of payments with an insurer. In return, it guarantees to pay you a stream of income in the future. That’s why it’s known as a deferred income annuity.

You can choose when your payments will begin. Most people choose lifetime payments starting at age 80 or older. Guaranteed lifetime income is a cost-effective way to insure against running out of money during very old age.



Income Annuities Provide Invaluable Longevity Insurance but Are Still Underused
Newsmax.com

Few adults would go without auto, home, life or health insurance. But the kind of insurance that protects against the risk of running out of money in old age is still greatly underutilized.

It’s called a deferred income annuity or a longevity annuity.

Most people planning for retirement should strongly consider an income annuity, and a new Brookings Institution study confirms that.

The concept is simple. The buyer deposits a lump sum or series of payments with an insurer. In return, it guarantees to pay you a stream of income in the future. That’s why it’s known as a deferred income annuity.

You can choose when your payments will begin. Most people choose lifetime payments starting at age 80 or older. Guaranteed lifetime income is a cost-effective way to insure against running out of money during very old age.









  Archives

Monday, 08/19/19 - Family healthcare spending now equals the cost of a new Harley-Davidson, report says

Tuesday, 08/20/19 - Buyout firm Centerbridge nears $1.5 bln deal for GoHealth -sources

Wednesday, 08/21/19 - PTO Exchange Secures $3 Million in Funding to Transform Employee Benefits for the Future of Work

Thursday, 08/22/19 - Cigna seeks sale of group benefits insurance business, valued as high as $6 billion

Friday, 08-16-19 - Employers now rank student loan assistance as the top new benefit they plan to offer during open enrollment this year,


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