CBO: Nixing CSRs Will Add $194B to Deficit, Raise Silver Plan Rates

While we all continue to reel from the horrifying aftermath of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released another health insurance analysis. This one considers President Donald Trump’s threats to cut federal cost-sharing subsidies. The result: if Trump’s threats become reality, health insurance premiums for silver plans will soar by an average of 20 percent next year and a $194 billion will be added to the federal deficit over the next decade. The analysis also reveals a bleak picture for market stability nationwide: CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] expect that insurers in some states would withdraw from or not enter the nongroup market because of substantial uncertainty about the effects of the policy on average health care costs for people purchasing plans. In the agencies’ estimation, under the policy, about 5 percent of people live in areas that would have no insurers in the nongroup market in 2018.

Download the complete CBO analysis and read an excellent story about the report on Kaiser Health News.

You May Have Missed This: Brill on Healthcare Costs
A California Broker contributor recently brought to our attention an excellent article about health care costs. If you haven’t read Steven Brill’s Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us , you should! It originally appeared in Time magazine in 2013. It’s long and, yes, worth the investment.


EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Hazy Workplace Issue: What About Employees Who Use Medical Marijuana?
California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 and last year legalized recreational marijuana. Now 32 states and the District of Columbia have  legalized marijuana to some degree. Despite this, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic (the same as heroin) and under Attorney General Jeff Sessions experts don’t see this changing. That puts lots of folks in tough spots — and the employee benefits and insurance industries aren’t exempt. Check out this post from Mark J. Neuberger, a Florida-based attorney specializing in labor and employment law, about a recent ruling in Massachusetts that should have employers/employee benefits pros everywhere taking note. And watch for October’s California Broker where we’ll take a look at life insurance issues, legal marijuana and how agents/brokers navigate the new terrain.

LIFE INSURANCE

Life Insurance Awareness Resource Page
September is life insurance awareness month, but LIMRA.com got a jump on things. LIMRA’s 2017 Life Insurance Awareness Month resource page is now live. It contains comprehensive data and research on the life insurance consumer market. 

PRODUCTS

Variable annunity. Great-West Financial and Aria Retirement Solutions announced that “Great-West Smart Track® Advisor Variable Annuity” is now available on Aria’s RetireOne™ platform through the firm’s extensive reach to fee-based advisors. This variable annuity seeks to provide investment advisors with a flexible and customizable solution for clients seeking investment growth and retirement income. Find out more at greatwest.com.

Genetic testing benefit. Anthem Blue Cross launched a Genetic Testing Solution aimed at driving appropriate, safe and affordable testing and counseling for patients. The program is designed and administered by national specialty benefits management leader, AIM Specialty Health. The Genetic Testing Solution promotes appropriate use and provides education that addresses the clinical and financial complexities of genetic testing. Find out more at anthem.com.

EVENTS

LAAHU/VCAHU Senior Products & Marketing Summit – August 24 Studio City
The Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters and the Ventura County Association of Health Underwriters have teamed up for a joint Senior Products & Marketing Summit. The event has moved to a larger venue, which allows for two learning tracks of education, additional sponsors and exhibitors to be a bigger part of the day. The summit will take place August 24, 2017, 8:30am-4:30pm at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. There’s still time to register or inquire about sponsorship opportunities.

Women in Insurance Luncheon – August 24 DTLA
Don’t miss the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) Women in Insurance luncheon at the City Club in downtown Los Angeles August 24, 11am-1pm. The theme is “The Power of Diverse Thought and Innovation.” Admission is $75. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.  Register online via the event website. 

“LOVE” Couture – A Salute to Women in Business Annual Charity Luncheon & Fashion Show- September 8 Westlake Village
Four Seasons Westlake Village is the place for LAAHU’s Salute to Women in Business Charity Luncheon and Fashion Show, Sept 8, 10a.m.– 2:00 pm. Warner Pacific, Dickerson, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Health Net, BenefitMall, United HealthCare, Rodger Benefit Group and Word&Brown are among the event sponsors. For info, see the events page at LAHU.org.

CAHU Health Care Retreat– September 11-13, Pala Casino Resort & Spa
Join CAHU for three packed days of vital information, legislative updates and networking opportunities. Keynote speaker Nelson Griswold is among the dynamic speakers. More info at to CAHU.org.

World Medical Tourism & Global Health Conference – Oct 2-4 Los Angeles
The fast growing field of medical tourism is creating a need for trained and knowledgeable professionals. Visit the World Medical Tourism & Global Health Conference for workshops and classes to become a Certified Medical Tourism Professional (CMTP). More info at medicaltourismcongress.com.

NAILBA 36 – Nov. 16-18, Hollywood, Florida
Registration is now open for the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) 36th Annual Meeting, NAILBA 36.  Scheduled November 16-18, 2017, at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, the meeting will attract high level representatives from brokerage general agencies, life insurance carriers and insurance industry vendors.  This year’s agenda has been expanded to deliver four keynote experiences over three general sessions and more than 15 workshops. Go to NAILBA.org for a complete schedule of events.