AHIP Warns Congress of High Costs Tied to Provider Consolidation

In testimony submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights for a hearing on “Competitive Implications of Vertical Consolidation in the Healthcare Industry,” America’s Health Insurance Plans recommended five actions federal policymakers might take to counter the anticompetitive effects of provider consolidation.

The first centers on giving the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice the ability to address anticompetitive consolidation.

The second calls for a retrospective review of vertical provider consolidation and possible remediation efforts.

For its third recommendation, AHIP seeks collaboration between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and FTC and DoJ to review payment and other policies and their unintended effect on provider consolidation

The fourth recommendation would build on the third to ensure that CMS policies do not harm competition.

Lastly, AHIP recommends that federal health programs and the individual marketplace support innovations to traditional care delivery — including increased use of telemedicine, retail clinics and urgent care facilities, home health, ambulatory service centers and non-physicians. Read more at Healthpayer Intelligence. 

The Dental Link

Innovative companies are looking for  creative ways to get maximum value from their benefits dollars. Tom Palmer with EBN says dental benefits are an often overlooked way to squeeze value. Read more here.

GUEST POST

Special thanks to Steve Cain, CEO, Northern California, UnitedHealthcare of California, for contributing the following post:

Companies Create Healthier Worksites to Help Improve Employee Well-being

Throughout my career, I’ve learned from employers and employees about worksite hurdles – those issues or hassles that prevent employees from being engaged, successful and happy at their jobs. To help encourage employees to be satisfied and more productive, an increasing number of employers are looking to their employee well-being programs for answers.

According to a survey from Fidelity Investments® and the National Business Group on Health®, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of companies plan to expand their well-being programs over the next few years. UnitedHealthcare’s 2019 Wellness Check Up Survey revealed that more than half (57 percent) of employees with access to an employer-sponsored well-being program say the initiative has had a positive effect on their health.

Although many companies see value and results from their well-being programs, other companies struggle [Read here to learn about successful well-being programs].

The following are some initiatives some employers have taken to align their worksites with a focus on employee engagement, health and well-being.

Encourage Staying Active: Having a meeting? Put your walking shoes on and talk on the go by having a “walk-and-talk” meeting. Employees whose jobs require them to sit at a desk all day may appreciate the change, and it may be good for their health.  Also, onsite yoga may have numerous physical and emotional benefits. Additional ideas to consider: onsite walking trails and fitness equipment and classes, treadmill conference rooms, and stand-up desks.

Reduce Employee Stress: Use available office space to create a low-lit “relaxation room” to help employees recharge and lower their stress levels. Also consider offering employees a mindfulness program that may help fill the workplace with positive energy, where working relationships are optimized and distractions give way to focus and self-awareness. Additional ideas to consider: a 5-minute stretching routine, paid time off for volunteer work and behavioral health counseling.

Healthier Food Options: Ensure healthier food options are available in vending machines and cafeterias, and at company events. Also, consider putting healthier options at eye-level within those vending machines and denoting those options with stickers. Additional ideas to consider: a free onsite salad bar, onsite cooking demonstrations, a fruit sampling day, or even onsite gardens to help increase teamwork.

Prioritize Employee Health: Consider banning all forms of tobacco (and vaping/e-cigarettes) from company premises, at company events and within company vehicles. Also, consider dedicating a private room for telehealth (virtual visits) appointment and allow employees to connect to a telehealth care provider as needed during the work day. Additional ideas to consider: onsite biometric screenings and flu shots, find a wellness champion for the office, and offer financial well-being programs.

For more information about well-being programs, visit UHC.com.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Employee Benefits Communication Webinar

Our friends at Hodges-Mace recently released a webinar titled Employee Benefits Communication: Think Like a Marketer. The free webinar divulges tried-and-true communication methods to get employees to appreciate employee benefits.

BUSINESS

AmeriLife Gets Capital Infusion

AmeriLife Group, LLC, a national leader in developing, marketing and distributing annuity, life and health insurance solutions,  announced that it has entered into new credit facilities that provide for up to $395 million of financing. The new agreement includes a $250 million first lien term loan, $70 million second lien term loan, $35 million delayed draw first lien term loan and a $40 million revolving credit facility. The re-financing transaction was over-subscribed, allowing AmeriLife to raise additional capital that will be used to fund future acquisitions and pay a special dividend to equity holders. Together with cash resources on hand, the new credit facilities provide AmeriLife with over $100 million of capital to fund the company’s growth and acquisition strategies.

LIFE

Amalgamated Life Insurance Company Now Offers Voluntary Whole Life Insurance from Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York

Amalgamated Life Insurance Company (www.amalgamatedlife.com), a leading provider of comprehensive insurance solutions, will now be providing a voluntary whole life insurance solution from Security Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (www.smlny.com). The product, Whole Life LP95, offers guaranteed coverage for those who meet the eligibility requirements as well as guaranteed premiums and strong cash values. Coverage is available for individuals and their spouses age 18 to 72. Additionally, coverage can be obtained for children and grandchildren age 14 days up to and including age 26. Individuals can purchase this insurance for their family members without having to purchase life insurance for themselves. For more information, visit: www.amalgamatedlife.com or call: 914.367.5000.

EVENTS
NAHU Annual Convention –We’ll see you here!

June 29-July 2, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina
Keynote speaker is Retired Master Sergeant Cedric King. Sessions focus on practical solutions for your business, including retaining today’s new workforce, buying or selling your agency, data transparency and alternative healthcare management.  And there’s an expanded Medicare Extreme! with proven practices and important trends on changes in Medicare, technology solutions, growing your business with group Medicare sales plus more.  Plus plenty of opportunity to visit with a variety of vendors and network with colleagues More info here. 

 

LAAHU and VCAHU 5th Annual Medicare Summit– We’ll see you here!

August 20-21, Pickwick Gardens, Burbank

Join Los Angeles and Ventura County Health Underwriters to “Become a Medicare Icon.” Speakers, breakouts, CE and much more! Sponsorship and exhibit info here.  Register here.

Association of Health Underwriters Senior Summit– We’ll see you here!

August 28-29, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula

The Sixth Annual Senior Summit sponsored by the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego Associations of Health Underwriters is the largest AHU Medicare event in the country. Keynotes, breakout sessions, CE and much more. Early bird pricing in effect until Aug 1: $79 for members, $99 for nonmembers. Register here.

NAAIA National Conference

Sept 11-13, Atlanta- SAVE THE DATE!Leaders from across the insurance and financial services profession will come together at this high ­energy industry event to further the education, advancement and uplifting of African American insurance professionals. More info soon at www.naaia.org.

Alliance of Comprehensive Planners 2019 Annual Conference
Nov. 12-15, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego

​​​​​​The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP)  is a community of tax-focused financial planners who provide planning strategies for clients on a fee-only retainer basis. Conference early bird registration rates (which expire Oct. 11, 2019) are in effect now. Participation is open to all interested financial professionals. Companies interested in sponsoring the ACP Annual Conference should contact Jill Colsch at jill@acplanners.org. The agenda is available here: https://2019.acplanners.org/home. More info here.