Amazon Buys PillPack!

Amazon has officially entered the pharmacy business with its acquisition of PillPack. Adam J. Fein, over at Drug Channels says that means they may start owning the market with uninsured and underinsured people. Fein also says the deal is good news for vertical integration: “As I see it, the Amazon-PillPack deal makes it slightly more likely that the Justice Department will approve the pending CVS-Aetna and Cigna-Express Scripts mergers. Despite the Amazon hype, executives should be getting ready to adapt to a vertical healthcare world, per my comments about the medical-pharmacy future in March. That’s the real story for the immediate future.” So there you have it.

HEALTHCARE

Peck, Peck, Peck ….that’s the sound of the Trump Admin With ACA
We don’t want to bore you with old news, but this was the headline from Reuters on Sunday: Insurers Warn of Rising Premiums After Trump Axes Obamacare Payments Again. But maybe you haven’t yet read California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ statement about it.

Peck, Peck, Peck, Peck…Money for ACA Navigators Also Slashed
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday that it would provide only $10 million for the navigator program for this fall’s open enrollment season. This past year, navigators received $36 million in funding, down from $63 million in 2016. The reduction was paired with a 90 percent cut in the ACA advertising budget. The take-home: if you can’t change a law in an ethical and fair way, destroy it any way you can.

What Does the Supreme Court Nominee and ACA Have in Common?
Answer: their fates (perhaps). The Washington Examiner reports that Democrats plan to make the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh a fight over the future of the ACA, which is under a lower court challenge that is winding its way toward possible consideration by the Supreme Court.

Curious Insurance Minds Want to Know
California Healthline is answering a couple of interesting insurance questions …Do you know if insurance carriers can use results of genetic tests to determine coverage? Do consumers have recourse for surprise bills if their plans are self-funded? The answers are no and not so much, but read on for the entire explanations here.

VOLUNTARY BENEFITS

Colonial Life Realizing Success in Voluntary Benefits
Eastbridge Consulting named Colonial Life the fastest-growing voluntary benefits company among large carriers. Colonial Life reported that its voluntary sales grew 7 percent in 2017, totaling $520 million. Colonial Life is the only company with more than $150 million in annual sales to exceed the industry average each of the past three years, according to Eastbridge. The performance earned Colonial Life the 2017 Voluntary Sales Growth Leader recognition.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

MDRT Study: Market Volatility May Offer Chance for Stronger Relationships
A recent study conducted by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) surveyed consumers during a week of market volatility to understand investment behaviors and the potential role of financial advisors. Seventy-four percent of consumers with advisors indicate their advisor shared best practices for responding to market volatility. As a result, more than half of respondents with financial advisors expressed the relationship increased their understanding of appropriate actions to take when the market is volatile.

SmartAsset Raises $28M In Series C Funding
Financial tech company SmartAsset announced it raised $28 million in Series C funding.  The new investment comes from Focus Financial Partners (which is backed by Stone Point Capital and KKR), Javelin Venture Partners, TTV Capital, IA Capital, Contour Venture Partners, Citi Ventures and Fabrice Grinda, among others.  Total funding for the company is now reportedly more than $51 million. SmartAsset says it plans to use the funding to further grow its audience, as well as expand its fast-growing SmartAdvisor platform, which matches consumers to financial advisors.

PRODUCTS

The Standard Launches Hospital Indemnity Product with Benefit Differentiation

Standard Insurance Company announced the launch of a new hospital indemnity insurance product, designed specifically for hospital employer groups. Hospital Indemnity Plus pays hospital employees a  20 percent higher benefit for a hospital stay within the employer’s health system. More info here.

Securian adds new premium payment options, enhanced benefits to “SecureCare” Universal Life Insurance Policy with LTC
Securian Financial Group has added new premium payment options and enhanced benefits to SecureCare Universal Life, a permanent life insurance contract with long-term care benefits.

Launched in 2017 as a single premium-only linked benefit product, the enhanced version of SecureCare, issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company, allows customers to choose a single or multi-year premium schedule of five, seven, 10 or 15 years. The new product also pays benefits using a cash indemnity-style model with improved flexibility and liberalized limitations when accessing the benefits. More info at Securian online.

PEOPLE 

NAHU Honors Pozniak
Congratulations to Cal Broker regular contributor Naama Pozniak. NAHU recently honored Naama with its 2018 Distinguished Service Award!

EVENTS

IRA Workshop

July 26-27, Chicago, IL
Ed Slott and Company will offer Instant IRA Success, a two-day workshop that provides in-depth insight into retirement planning under the new tax laws. Learn more here. More info: www.IRAhelp.com, or e-mail Info@irahelp.com.

2018 DMEC Annual Conference
August 6-9, Hilton Austin, Austin, TX
More than 700 disability and absence management, HR and legal professionals will discuss paid leave, mental health, disability and more at the 2018 DMEC Annual Conference. Workshops and panel discussions include:

  • The Business Impact of Paid Leave:  An Interactive Workshop
  • Mental Health in the Workplace:  The Invisible Disability, Now Visible
  • FMLA/ADA Lessons Learned: Recent Court Cases, Jury Verdicts and Settlements
  • It Seems Simple, But: The Complexities of Reasonable Accommodation
  • ADA Leave Cases Post-Severson
  • Minimizing the Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace
  • State by State:  Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation
  • Disability and Fitness for Duty in Transgender Employees
  • Get Explicit About Implicit Bias

See a full program and more info here.

CAHU Health Care Summit
August 7-9, San Diego Hilton, Bayfront
This year’s theme is “New Hope for the Modern Agent.” This year CAHU will be offering multiple Continuing Education tracks on Medicare, IFP and Group Benefits, Business Development and more. There will be two NAHU certification courses offered on August 7. Individuals who register for the Summit and a certification course will receive a $50 discount upon completing both registrations. Details here.

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

CAHU Foundation Gala
September 14, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Please join CAHU for a Masquerade Gala to revitalize the CAHU Foundation. Festivities begin at 5:30pm at the famous Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Formal attire is requested.  Gala tickets and hotel reservations can be purchased here. Or call (800) 322-5934.  More info at the CAHU Foundation website. 

LAAHU and VCAHU Medicare Summit
September 20-21, Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, Burbank
September 20- certifications and product training (including SCAN)
September 21- C.E. Courses and breakout sessions! Click here to register.

IICF Week of Giving 2018: October 13-20
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation announced the 2018 Week of Giving will be October 13-20. Registration for nonprofits and volunteers is now open. Check out IICF Week of Giving for more info. 

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.