Conservatives Blast GOP Plan as ‘Obamacare Lite’

Influential conservative lawmakers and activist groups panned health-care legislation drafted by House Republican leaders, throwing the GOP’s plan to undo the Affordable Care Act in serious doubt less than 24 hours after it was released.

Those groups dubbed the House bill, backed by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), as “Obamacare Lite,” “RyanCare” or “RINOcare” — a reference to “Republican in name only,” a popular conservative epithet for establishment politicians.

The Ryan-backed bill offers a more conservative vision for the nation’s health-care system, replacing federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual tax credits and phasing out most of the ACA’s taxes. But key lawmakers and outside groups, who can rile up the party’s base against legislative plans, said the legislation does not go far enough in pulling back elements of President Barack Obama’s overhaul.

The article is here.

CALIFORNIA NEWS

HealthWorks Buys Premier Comp in Pleasanton
U.S. HealthWorks in Valencia, an operator of occupational health and urgent care centers in the United States, has acquired Premier Comp Medical Group in Pleasanton. U.S. HealthWorks now has 16 centers to serve patients and employers in the Bay Area and 74 in California.

Premier Comp Medical Group, at 5635 W. Las Positas Blvd., Suite 401, offers services such as work injury care, physical exams, drug and alcohol testing, and pre-employment screenings.

“The team at Premier Comp Medical Group has established a reputation and history of providing excellent medical care to the community,” said Joseph Mallas, chief executive of U.S. HealthWorks a subsidiary of Dignity Health.

“We are excited to join the team as it allows us to further expand our services and elevate the level of care to employers and injured workers in the East Bay,” said Stephen R. Nord, chief executive of Premier Comp.

The acquisition brings the total number of U.S. HealthWorks medical and worksite clinics to 247 nationwide, in 21 states.

The terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

U.S. HealthWorks centers serve more than 14,000 patients each day, providing care to help employees return to work and allow employers to effectively manage claims and reduce lost work time. U.S. HealthWorks also offers special early return-to-work, injury prevention, and ergonomics programs.

Hub Buys Lissc
Hub International Limited in Chicago, a leading global insurance brokerage, announced today that it has acquired Lissc, a Santa Ana company.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Lissc is a multi-lines insurance company that will join Hub California.  Angelo Maroutsos and Dennis Monahan, co-owners, and David Trevino, vice president of LISSC, will join Hub California and report to Peter Duncan, executive vice president, Hub California.  Hub International Limited is committed to growing organically and through acquisitions. Hub provides property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services from offices located throughout North America.

NATIONAL NEWS

Health Insurance Drives in Job Decisions
A recent survey of LinkedIn members found that for nearly one in five of about 1,000 respondents, or about 20 percent, the types and cost of health insurance available were the primary driving factor in taking, leaving or keeping a job. Health insurance means a big deal to jobs, careers and the economy. The article is here.

NEW PRODUCTS

HealthSherpa Introduces Cobra Crosswalk
HealthSherpa, a San Francisco health insurance enrollment company, announced a new product, Cobra Crosswalk, for corporate partners to provide alternatives to Cobra health insurance continuation coverage for employees. The average Cobra enrollee typically incurs claims 50 percent higher than an active employee, costing employers thousands per enrollee per year.

“There’s no denying that Cobra is expensive for corporations and may not be the best solution for the former employees,” said George Kalogeropoulos, founder and chief executive of HealthSherpa. “The average Cobra enrollee costs self-insured corporations thousands more per year than an active employee, and premiums are very high, making it a lose-lose for the employer and the former employee. There are other smart options to meet former employee’s healthcare needs and budgets.”

Crosswalk allows employees to enroll in quality, affordable coverage that is up to 85 percent cheaper than Cobra coverage, the company said.

HealthSherpa offers leading brand cost-effective healthcare benefits to part-time, seasonal, temporary, 1099 and other non-benefits eligible employees.

Landmark Offers Two New Chiropractic Plans
Landmark Healthplan introduced two new plans, the Basic Plan and the Package Plan, to go alongside the existing plan, the Plus Plan.

The Landmark Chiropractic Basic Plan includes 15 chiropractic care visits per year for wellness, chronic or acute care. Prior authorization is not required, and each office visit co-pay is only $25.

The Landmark Chiropractic Package Plan is a 12-month plan that includes four visits to a chiropractor. With more than 1,000 chiropractors in the California network, prior authorization is never required. Each office visit co-pay is only $20.

The Landmark Chiropractic Plus Plan offers the most office visits. It includes 20 chiropractic visits per year.

MetLife Reimagining Benefits Enrollment
MetLife, a New York provider of non-medical employee benefits in the United States, has launched a strategy to reimagine employee benefits enrollment in partnership with employers and their brokers and consultants. The strategy brings together new research findings with actions that enable MetLife to work with employers, brokers and consultants in new ways to create benefits enrollment experiences that help employees understand their benefits, make informed decisions and easily enroll.

Based on research MetLife conducted with HR decision-makers and employee focus groups at four companies across diverse industries, including transportation, higher education, mass media and manufacturing, common unmet employee needs emerged.

“Because of these unmet needs, many employees aren’t taking advantage of the benefits available to them in the workplace, and as a result are walking away from resources that can help them reduce financial stress, potentially avoid financial hardship, and improve their overall financial well-being,” said Meredith Ryan-Reid, senior vice president of distribution development in MetLife’s Group Benefits business.

As a result, MetLife has launched a new comprehensive enrollment strategy, which includes a redefined employer engagement model that assesses employer objectives and employee needs and follows a diagnostic approach to creating enrollment conditions.

“Our new enrollment strategy is just the beginning of our work and a broader commitment to work with employers, brokers and others to ensure employees understand and can access the benefits available to them through the workplace,” Ryan-Reid said.

The approaches include streamlining, simplification, training and interactive components.

Standard Launches Health Advocacy Service
Standard in Portland, Ore., has launched the Health Advocacy Select service, offered along with the company’s Short Term Disability insurance coverage. The new Health Advocacy Select service, offered through an arrangement with Health Advocate, a health assistance and support company, can help employees navigate the health care system while on a short term disability claim and ease the administrative burden on HR professionals.

Daniel Tkebuchava, marketing product manager at Standard, said: “We believe that providing Health Advocacy Select to employees experiencing a short term disability is an additional way to assist them in moving forward with their lives when a disability occurs.”

Standard also offers Health Advocacy Enhanced is also offered in conjunction with Health Advocate, which provides Personal Health Advocates who help employees and their covered family members, such as dependents, spouses, parents and parents-in-law, manage their healthcare needs.

PEOPLE

Apriem Advisors Names Landon Yoshida as Partner
Apriem Advisors, an wealth management firm, has promoted Landon Yoshida, to principal and  vice president of wealth management. Yoshida started with Apriem in 2011 as a wealth manager after working at a large investment firm as an adviser.

“He is an invaluable asset to our team as well as his clients,” said Harmon Kong, chief wealth manager and founding principal of Apriem Advisors. Yoshida was an integral part of Apriem’s recent 20 percent year-over-year organic growth. He leads the firm’s Refinery Retiree Practice, fueled by current or soon-to-be retirees from ExxonMobil’s refinery operation in Torrance, now Torrance RefiningCo. Yoshida began this program a decade ago and has honed the model so successfully that it will be expanded to serve Southern California’s growing population of retirees in the aerospace sector, Kong said.

“The expansion of this practice into other industrial retiree segments is a significant step in Apriem’s growth strategy,” Kong said. “Under Landon’s leadership, we look forward to adding new clients and serving them with the highest degree of integrity.”Apriem manages assets for about 350 families worldwide, totaling more than $500 million in assets under management.

PHILANTHROPY

Anthem Blue Cross Foundation Tallied $3.8 Million for 2016
From teaching lifesaving skills, to increasing cancer screening and helping youth discover that eating healthy and staying active can be fun, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation continues to tackle some of California’s most complex health issues.

Last year’s results, donations of $3.8 million, plus hours of employee volunteer work, illustrate how the foundation’s partner non-profits are helping to reduce health disparities and empower local community residents to take control of their health.

“We know that when our communities are healthy, their residents are able to thrive, grow and prosper,” said Brian Ternan, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “The Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is proud to team with these organizations that are dedicated to improving the health of our communities and are working to change the lives of so many people across the state.”

Through its focus on heart health, cancer prevention, prenatal care, diabetes prevention, active lifestyles and behavioral health, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation teams with organizations that are setting the standard when it comes to innovative programs that offer long term solutions.

The foundation works with the American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, among other partners.

Beyond the impact made by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross associates donated more than 7,100 volunteer hours to benefit countless nonprofits in communities across the state. Additionally, during the year-round associate giving program supported by an Anthem Blue Cross Foundation match, they raised $568,000.

Do you have a News or People item for California Broker Magazine’s Insurance Insider Newsletter? Email to editor@calbrokermag.com with “Attn: Newsletter” in the subject line. Insurance Insider Newsletter is compiled from news articles and press releases by Steve Silkin, managing editor, California Broker.