AMERICAN MEDICAL Assn Doesn’t Like CVS-Aetna Merger


After last week’s move by the U.S. Justice Department regarding the CVS-Aetna merger, the nation’s doctors spoke out. The American Medical Association released the following statement:

“While the AMA welcomes the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requiring Aetna to divest its Medicare Part D drug plan business, we are disappointed that the DOJ did not go further by blocking the CVS-Aetna merger.

“The AMA worked tirelessly to oppose this merger and presented a wealth of expert empirical evidence to convince regulators that the merger would harm patients. We now urge the DOJ and state antitrust enforcers to monitor the post-merger effects of the Aetna acquisition by CVS Health on highly concentrated markets in pharmaceutical benefit management services, health insurance, retail pharmacy, and specialty pharmacy.

“Patients are better served by promoting competitive health care markets. The AMA is committed to ensuring that competition in health care is not compromised. We will continue to examine proposed health care mergers as they arise and take every opportunity to challenge those that are detrimental to the patients we serve.” 

HEALTHCARE
We Can All Agree This is a Big Election Issue: Pre-existing Conditions

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is anyone’s guess, but one thing remains wildly popular: coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The Commonwealth Fund’s David Blumenthal says “For the first time in our history, Americans are agreeing that even if you are sick you should be able to find private health insurance coverage you can afford.” Read Blumenthal’s whole post, where he lays out what’s at stake in November.

CAL BROKER SURVEY WINNER
Who is This Lucky Guy?

 

Well, that’s Cal Broker reader Rich Lujan. He filled out a simple reader survey at the recent LAAHU medicare event at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank and he won a bottle of wine. Congrats Rich! Look for an online version of the reader survey right here at Insurance Insider News soon. We want to know what you’re interested in. Sorry, we probably won’t be able to send you wine, though.

 

 

 

PRODUCTS
Landmark  Launches New Group Voluntary Chiropractic and Acupuncture Plans

Landmark announced it will begin offering six new group voluntary plans, three chiropractic plans and three acupuncture plans. An employer may offer one or more plans to their employees so long as a minimum of two employees enroll in each plan offered. These new plans replace the old Basic Chiropractic Plan that was previously offered. All groups enrolled on an old plan design will be automatically moved to a new plan at renewal. For more information, including the rates and plan designs, please download the Group Voluntary Chiropractic and Acupuncture Plans PDF.

WEBINARS
Busting The Myths of Dependent Audits

Our pals at Hodges-Mace have an excellent webinar up on Vimeo. Check out Busting the Myths of Dependent Audits. You can also check out their PowerPoint slides on the topic.

Agency Planning Webinars

Our pals at Beta Benefits are also offering a couple of great webinars. Beta is offering “Create Your Own Agency, Corporation, and Succession Plan” and “How to Sell Your Agency.” This is critical information for independent agents. For more info or to register, email jesse@betabenefits.com.

TECH
EaseCentral Partners with Oscar Health

EaseCentral, an HR and benefits SaaS platform powered by insurance brokers, announced a partnership with high-tech insurer Oscar Health. The partnership will allow California-based brokers to easily access pre-built Oscar healthcare plans within the EaseCentral system and to submit enrollments completed within EaseCentral directly to Oscar. This partnership pushes a traditionally pen-and-paper industry into the digital world by migrating systems online and eliminating tedious paperwork. The direct submission from insurance agencies in the EaseCentral platform to the Oscar database enables ID cards to be supplied to employees faster, allowing them to have access to their coverage sooner.  Plan setup and submission will only require a few mouse clicks, making Oscar plans more accessible to brokers, employers and employees. Consumers can expect a simpler enrollment process with fewer steps and a quicker completion, which means they will be able to utilize their benefits faster than ever before. In addition to improving efficiency, migrating the processes online also reduces the risk for human error.   With this latest integration, EaseCentral is now working with more than 45,000 employers, servicing 1.2 million enrollees. The company has seen record growth since its inception in 2012 and is enjoying continued growth and momentum through 2018. 

FINANCIAL PLANNING
House Passes Replacement of Section 203, HR 6757

The House passed a version of H.R. 6757 that includes a retirement plan annuitization provision sought by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and other financial services organizations. The current draft of the “Family Savings Act of 2018″ bill includes a replacement for Section 203. The new Section 203 would create a fiduciary safe harbor for defined contribution retirement plan sponsors or other fiduciaries when the fiduciaries choose a company to provide a plan annuitization option. 

New Research on Which Type of Annuity Provides the Highest Guaranteed Income

New research by CANNEX asked a simple question: Which type of annuity provides the highest guaranteed income for Americans planning for retirement? The answer is….drum roll, please… it depends. The report, “Guaranteed Income Across Annuity Products,” shows that when compared, different types of annuities with equivalent benefits provide higher income guarantees depending upon when income is taken, income delay, gender and whether it is for a single person or a couple. Single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) were generally found to provide the highest income guarantee for those planning on drawing immediate income. For a couple who are of different ages the study found that a variable annuity (VA) with guaranteed income may generate the highest annual payments. For an individual looking to start drawing down money in five or 10 years, the research showed a Fixed Indexed Annuity (FIA) provided a greater guaranteed stream of income than either a deferred income annuity (DIA) or variable annuity.  For women, the differential between a fixed indexed annuity and a deferred income annuity is even greater because DIA benefit payments are lower based on longevity expectations. The longer the delay in taking income, the greater the benefit for women of choosing an FIA versus a DIA. Based on a $100,000 premium investment in a DIA at 65-years-old, a woman of average projected longevity would receive, after 10 years deferral, around $11,700 in annual income, versus approximately $12,900 for a man. By contrast, an FIA could generate as much as $14,313 of annual income regardless of gender. The report draws on CANNEX’s quantitative annuity comparison tools that enable financial institutions and advisors to evaluate the value of annuity guarantees based on the design of the benefit. 

5 Top Threats to Financial Life

ThinkAdvisor’s Bryan Kuderna says illness/injury, lawsuit, taxes, market volatility and health care expenses are the top threats to anyone’s financial life. Good to know that you’re in the right business to help!

EVENTS

 

Senator Stone to Speak DCAHU Meeting
Oct 18
Senator Jeff Stone will speak at the Desert Cities Association of Healthcare Underwriters October meeting. More info at DCAHU.org.

LAAHU October Breakfast Meeting
October 18, 2018, 8-10 AM
Monterey at Encino Glen, 16821 Burbank Blvd., Encino (new location!)
Theme is “12 Hacks to Help You Sell More and Stress Less.” Register Here

 

IICF/LiNC Dia de los Muertos Fundraiser
November 1- 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm

IICF and Latinos in Insurance Networking for our Community are proud to partner to present Dia de los Muertos. Enjoy hosted appetizers and an evening of industry networking for a good cause. Cash bar.
Pre Registration: $20.00, At Door: $25.00 VIP Admission: $50.00
– Includes admission and 5 raffle tickets. All proceeds benefit the IICF Community Grants Program and the LiNC scholarship program. Register here.

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.

NAC3 Cryptocurrency Conference
December 8, Las Vegas
Come hang with Crypto Bobby, Ready Set Crypto, the Crypto Street Podcast crew and many more. This event’s focus will be on investment and how to take your gains to the next level in the current market. Register now for the early bird rate of $97. More info here.