Dems Face Off, Medicare for All Support Dips

Tonight is night two of the debates among the many Dem candidates who hope to be selected to run against President Donald Trump. The latest from Kaiser Family Foundation says that whatever any candidate talks about, it better include healthcare. And, yet, Medicare for All — the idea most closely associated with Bernie Sanders — has lost a little steam. Now roughly 51% of the public back a Medicare for All plan, versus a high of 56% in April 2019.

MEDICARE

CMS Announces Pilot to Give Clinicians Access to Medicare Claims Data

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a pilot program to allow clinicians access to claims data for their Medicare patients. CMS officials announced the “Data at the Point of Care” program at the White House’s Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference in D.C. This is part of CMS’s MyHealthEData initiative, an interoperability effort to give patients more control over their health data and encourage clinicians to consider cost and efficiency in care. So far, more than 2,000 developers are using the Blue Button 2.0 API to build applications, and 28 organizations have launched patient-facing programs. Now Data at the Point of Care is expected to spur clinician-facing applications. According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, providers that are participating in value-based models or considering value-based models are expected to be most interested in the pilot. And if you’re really interested in the intersection between claims data and tech, read this.

LIFE

Plaintiffs Agree to $80m Settlement with MetLife

Lawyers for two classes of plaintiffs who have accused MetLife of holding on to death benefits in order to skim accrued interest have reportedly reached an $80 million settlement. The filings docketed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The two classes represent about 200,000 people. The suits were brought against the insurer because of the way it paid out certain group life insurance claims. MetLife was accused of distributing blank checks linked to Total Control Account for ERISA plan beneficiaries. Plaintiffs charge that the company only transferred money to cover the checks drawn from the TCA when a check was written, allowing MetLife to make interest on the retained amount without disclosing to the plan’s sponsor or administrator the profits it expected to accrue and did accrue. More at ThinkAdvisor.

TECH

Trump Admin Announces Plans to Allow Drug Imports

The Trump administration announced the Safe Importation Action Plan, a plan to allow the importation of drugs from other countries. The plan calls for a rulemaking to authorize state, wholesaler or pharmacy plans to try to set up drug importation programs that abide by FDA safety standards. The FDA would also work with manufacturers to assure that the drugs sold to foreign countries abide by FDA regulations to be sold in the U.S. The latest move is seen as a major part of President Trump’s agenda for lowering the cost of prescriptions.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Jellyvision Beefs Up Broker Team and Outreach

As a part of  its effort to boost broker partnerships, Jellyvision announced the hiring of three new channel strategy leaders who bring 55 years of combined broker and benefits industry experience to its team. The new trio of Jeff Schmidt, Kristine Hammack and Robert Ferrone will join existing team members Keith Vallera and Patrick McPartland. Jellyvision is the maker of ALEX, a benefits and financial decisions platform, that is used by 10 of the 15 largest U.S. brokerages in the industry. According to the company, more than 1,500 companies nationwide, with over 17 million total employees, use ALEX.  The interactive software uses a blend of behavioral science, humor and tech to lead people through complex decisions related to pay, benefits and savings.  To learn more about how Jellyvision supports brokers, visit www.jellyvision.com/reseller.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Self-Employed Not As Likely to Fantasize About Retirement

The latest research by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies says self-employed people are less likely to dream of retirement and slightly less likely to be saving for retirement. According to the study:

Given that their work affords them greater scheduling flexibility and that they are enjoying life, retirement is simply less attractive to them. The research finds that the self-employed are somewhat less likely than employed workers to cite positive word associations about retirement, and relatively few are “very much” looking forward to it.

Sixty-eight percent of the self-employed expect to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire. Only 54 percent of employed workers expect to retire after age 65 or do not plan to retire. The research says roughly 70% of the self-employed included in the study are saving for retirement. In comparison, they are somewhat less likely than employed workers (75 percent) to be saving, and they started at an older age. The whole study is available here.

EVENTS

LAAHU Vanguard Happy Hour

Thursday, August 8, 2019, Vino Wine & Tapas Room, 18046 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91436, 5:30-7:30p.m RSVP 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.

NAHU Region VIII Leadership Conference

August 25-26, The Queen Mary, Long Beach

Training and strategic planning for all local board positions, plus an opportunity to network with other leaders. Early bird pricing of $149 includes evening reception on 8/25 and a full day of conference on 8/26. Stay in a deluxe stateroom for only $129. Patrick Burns, NAHU Region VIII vp, will preside as ship captain. The event is hosted by LAAHU and OCAHU.

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.

LISI Health Benefits & Tech Summit

 

August 29- Santa Clara
Sept 9- Irvine
Registration and info here.

PERKS LA – The Employee Experience Expo- We’ll see you here! Discount for CB readers!

September 11, Magic Box @ The Reef, Los Angeles

See the largest selection of perks, services, amenities and benefits for your clients, prospects and their employees. Plus VIP workshops and fitness, giveaways, free food and drink samples, happy hour and more for all ticket holders. Register at here with code CALBROKER (20% off!) and also check out sponsor/exhibiting details.

NAAIA National Conference & Empowerment Summit
Sept 11-13, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA

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 at www.naaia.org.

LIMRA Group & Worksite Benefits Conference

Sept 10-12, Newport Marriott, Rhode Island

The conference will focus on key industry issues, including factors driving change in the benefits market. Executives and professionals in the workplace benefits area are encouraged to attend and network at this collaborative event. Tom Wamberg, chief executive officer, Wamberg Genomic Advisors, will open the conference by talking about how genomic developments will change every long-held belief of the life and health insurance industries. He’ll discuss genomic products and their potential risks, rewards and regulations. The following day, these industry leaders will share their thoughts on today’s most important topics in the workplace space:

  • Lori L. High, senior vice president, Sales & Relationship Management – Group Benefits, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
  • Gene Lanzoni, assistant vice president, Thought Leadership – Group & Worksite Marketing, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America;
  • Jeanette Rice, president and chief operating officer, American Fidelity Assurance Company; and
  • Bill Smith, president, Cigna Group Insurance

Registration and info here.

CAHU Annual Conference & Symposium

Oct 3-5, Costa Mesa
Register here for early bird rates.

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.

CAHU Women’s Leadership Conference
March 25-27, 2020, JW Marriott Resort&Spa, Las Vegas

Save the date! Get early bird pricing by registering by 8/31/19 and using code NAHU19. More info at www.cahu.org.