Advocate Moms Unhappy About Anthem Slashing Breast Pump Payments

Parent advocates aren’t happy since Anthem’s move last month to begin slashing the rate it reimburses medical suppliers for breast pumps by 44 percent — from $169.15 to $95. With the move, many breast pumps that used to be free under a provision of the Affordable Care Act now involve a cost to parents. More robust pumps, which have always required an out-of-pocket expenditure, are even more costly. Advocates say the change will be a detriment to families who want to breast feed and, ultimately, a detriment to infants. The lower payment rate applies to all commercial health plans sold by Anthem. The rate will not affect Anthem-run Medicaid plans. Anthem contends that a number of high-quality breast pumps remain available to nursing moms at no cost, as required by the ACA. Meanwhile, advocacy groups such as MomsRising have waged campaigns to get the insurer to reverse the decision. No word yet if Anthem is considering a reversal.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Benefitfocus Awards Employees
Benefitfocus, a cloud-based benefits management platform and services provider, will give employees a chance to own a piece of the company with a new stock program benefit.

More than 1,400 full-time employees will receive a one-time restricted stock unit, currently valued at about $2,000. Read more at EBN.

Aflac Launches Cancer Protection Assurance Plan 
Aflac announced the launch of its Aflac Cancer Protection Assurance plan. Highlights of the new plan include:

  • Coverage for screening tests and surgeries performed on the basis of genetic testing results
  • An increase to the wellness payout for early diagnosis
  • Coverage for nonsurgical treatment such as immunotherapy, and surgery on a non-diseased body part
  • Access to CancerCare services including counseling services from licensed oncology social workers to help patients access practical assistance and resources, as well as educational workshops for both cancer patients and partners

Guardian Study Says Employers Eager to Embrace Benefits Tech But Need Help
Employers are eager to jump their benefits programs into the digital age; however, most need expert advice when it comes to implementing the strategies, according to the Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study.  Once companies learn to navigate digital platforms, the study finds employers garner greater efficiencies, cost savings and overall productivity. Here’s more insight from the study:

  • More than 40 percent of all employers say that expanding their use of technology will be among their top benefits strategies in the next five years.
  • Three in four millennials wish it were easier to learn about and access their workplace benefits
  • Forty two percent of young millennials use artificial intelligence to find answers for benefits of health-related questions compared to 26 percent of baby boomers
  • Fifty eight percent of employers say managing their employee benefits has become increasingly complex – up from 52 percent in 2015
  • Sixty seven percent of highly digital employers said enrolling employees is “very efficient” compared to 44 percent of paper-based employers

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Securian Announces New Product, New Campaign Focused on Family Investor 

Securian Financial announced it’s launching a new brand identity and its first-ever national advertising campaign focused on the “family investor.” After months of research to better understand the mindset of their customers who prioritize their time, money and emotional energy in family, Securian Financial will move to a new brand promise, logo and identity system. Securian Financial also launched an enhanced hybrid product, SecureCare, which is a life insurance and long-term care solution that offers new premium payment options and enhanced benefits. Customers can now choose a single or multi-year premium schedule of five, seven, 10 or 15 years. It also pays benefits using a cash indemnity-style model with improved flexibility.

A Third of Small Biz Owners Use A Fingers Crossed Strategy: No Insurance
Despite concerns over maintaining an income and being able to make long-term plans for growing a business, nearly a third (29 percent) of small business owners are putting their future at risk by having no forms of insurance whatsoever, nor do they have a solid contingency plan in place to mitigate this risk, according to InsuranceBee, a small business insurance broker that announced the findings of its first Annual Risk Survey. InsuranceBee calls this the “fingers crossed strategy.”

PRESCRIPTION DRUG

Nimble Pharmacy Now in LA/OC
Nimble Pharmacy, the on-demand free delivery pharmacy, announced it is now operating in Southern California. Delivery is free with Nimble; customers only pay their regular insurance co-payment. Nimble now delivers in Los Angeles and Orange County:

  • South to San Clemente
  • East to Yorba Linda
  • North to Beverly Hills and West Covina

Nimble users manage their prescriptions using the Nimble app, available for iOS and Android. There, they can check the status of deliveries, order prescriptions, and set up refills to arrive automatically every month. Consumers can get started by registering at www.nimblepharmacy.com and moving medications from their old pharmacy to Nimble.

RETIREMENT PLANNING

MassMutual Study: Asian Americans More Concerned and More Focused on Retirement
Asian Americans are more concerned about making missteps with their retirement savings in the years just before and just after retirement, yet are more confident and focused about their investments than other retirees and pre-retirees, according to new research from MassMutual. Asian American retirees and pre-retirees worry more than other Americans about taking too much risk (69 percent vs. 44 percent) or making a poor investment decision (67 percent vs. 54 percent) within 15 years before or after retirement, according to the MassMutual Asian American Retirement Risk Study. Asian American pre-retirees (75 percent) are especially concerned about taking too much investment risk, the study shows. The study findings show there is room for Asian Americans to obtain more education about investing. More info at massmutual.com.

CALIFORNIA BROKER

Devon Nuszer (l) and Scott Halversen (r)

Scott Halversen Retires, Cal Broker Welcomes Devon Nuszer
California Broker advertising director Scott Halversen is taking down his shingle as venerable ad salesperson and hanging a new one: retiree and doting grandfather. Halversen, an insurance industry veteran who expertly directed the magazine for more than 32 years, shepherding it into the digital age, will retire at the end of May. Taking his place, Cal Broker welcomes Devon Hunter, who has worked in the insurance industry for eight years. Hunter was introduced to the business through her uncle Phil Calhoun, an Orange Country producer and Cal Broker contributor. Say hello to Devon and find out more about excellent Cal Broker advertising opportunities: devon@calbrokermag.com.

EVENTS

NAFA Annuity Leadership Forum & Hill Walk
June 13-15, Grand Hyatt, Washington, DC

Events provide an opportunity for membership to network with one another, advocate on behalf of fixed annuities and learn about ways to enhance distribution. Keynote speaker is journalist Fred Barnes. Info and registration here.

IICF Western Regional Forum
June 21, The Millennium Biltmore, Downtown Los Angeles
The one-day regional format provides opportunities for greater participation and networking with colleagues here in the West and beyond. There will be ample time for networking with speakers as well. Topic this year is Driving Diversity: Cultivating Individual and Industry Confidence. Learn more at womensconference.iicf.org

NAILBA 37
November 1-3, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
Detailed information about NAILBA 37 will be available soon. Exhibit hall and sponsorship opportunities available here.  Or contact etoups@nailba.org for more info.

 

Save the date!

Golden Gate Association of Health Underwriters
4th Annual NORCAL Medicare Summit
August 16-17, DoubleTree Hotel, Pleasanton, More info soon at ggahu.org.