Every Agent is a Superhero – LAAHU April 17!

Don’t miss LAHU’s annual symposium next week! It’s not too late to join in the fun. More info   here.

HEALTH
CDI’s Lara Reappoints Bystry and Roxborough

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced two reappointments to the California Organized Investment Network (COIN) Advisory Board. In a written statement, Lara said CDI is committed to socially responsible investing in communities and the environment, and that board members are critical to ensuring public accountability. The reappointments include Douglas Bystry, president and CEO of the Clearinghouse CDFI, a for-profit community development financial institution, and Nick Roxborough, co-managing partner of Los Angeles law firm of Roxborough, Pomerance, Nye & Adreani, LLP. Bystry, who was first appointed in 2012, is considered an expert in affordable housing, community development and New Markets Tax Credit lending. Roxborough has been instrumental in numerous trial and appellate decisions concerning the insurance industry. He was first appointed to the COIN Advisory Board in March 2013.

Cal Insurers May Be More Accountable for Diversity

This afternoon the Senate Insurance Committee will consider legislation to promote diversity in California’s insurance industry, SB 534, introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). The measure, also strongly supported by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and The Greenlining Institute, would require the largest players in the state’s $310 billion insurance industry to report on their level of contracting with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and LGBT individuals. It would also require insurers to report on the diversity of their governing boards and set goals for supplier and board diversity. The measure is modeled on a number of prior, highly successful diversity initiatives based on reporting and transparency.

How Much Do They Want to Fix ACA?

The Washington Examiner reports that House Democrats in the Energy and Commerce Committee worked late into the night last week to advance six bills that they say will assuage the “Trump administration’s sabotage” of the Affordable Care Act. A couple of provisions were absent, however, and are even missing from a larger bill that House Democrats unveiled recently to expand ACA: The reinstatement of the individual mandate, and the funding of cost-sharing reduction subsidies that help lower out-of-pocket medical costs for the poor.

Washington Examiner says that ending CSRs turned out to be helpful to a lot of consumers: Insurers shifted premium costs onto the federal government, resulting in “silver loading” that allowed some ACA customers to pay $0 a month in premiums. Now Insurers are suing to get the funds back.

MEDICARE/SENIORS
Seniors Might Be Eligible for Tax Deduction on Health Plan Expenses

Just days left to file and we want to pass along info for some seniors. QuoteWizard (a LendingTree company) explored if seniors might receive a tax deduction on their health plan expenses. They found that people enrolled in Medicare are often eligible for a deduction.

This is true of all kinds of Medicare coverage:

  • Medicare Parts A and B (also called Original Medicare)
  • Medicare Part C (also called Medicare Advantage)
  • Medicare Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage)
  • Medicare Supplement insurance (also called MedSup or Medigap)

You can find the information under part 2 “You’re Enrolled in Medicare” as well as how to receive a deduction here: https://quotewizard.com/health-insurance/tax-deduction-claims

Investigation Finds Suicide Problem with Seniors in LTC Facilities

Reporters Melissa Bailey and JoNel Aleccia detail a six-month investigation by Kaiser Health News and PBS NewsHour that highlights a shocking suicide problem in many long term care facilities:

Each suicide results from a unique blend of factors, of course. But the fact that frail older Americans are managing to kill themselves in what are supposed to be safe, supervised havens raises questions about whether these facilities pay enough attention to risk factors like mental health, physical decline and disconnectedness — and events such as losing a spouse or leaving one’s home. More controversial is whether older adults in those settings should be able to take their lives through what some fiercely defend as “rational suicide.”

Read more here.

NAIC Offers Info on Medigap Changes

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners released this consumer alert on Medigap C, F and F high deductible. Please pass it along.

PBMs
Prescription Overhaul?

Everyone is weighing in on our business relationship with prescription drugs. Overhaul is top of mind and yet there’s still a huge amount of uncertainly about how PBMs will handle rebates and more in the future. Here, KHN’s Sydney Lupkin explains that it’s complicated and consumers don’t always get how premiums and what they pay at point of purchase tie together.

Insulin Talk

Do you want to know what lawmakers, manufacturers and PBMs discussed this morning about the exorbitant cost of insulin? Watch here. Those PBM executives definitely have their talking points down. Just sayin…

CVS Announces Same-Day Delivery of Meds

CVS Pharmacy announced that it’s now offering prescription delivery within hours in addition to their 1-2 day prescription delivery service available nationwide. The service, delivered by Shipt, a leading same-day delivery marketplace, is available at 6,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country. Go here for more info about CVS Pharmacy delivery options.

TECH
BenefitMall Introduces Agency Workspace

BenefitMall  announced its newest innovative technology, Agency Workspace. Agency Workspace will provide a home base for BenefitMall’s technology for brokers to support their clients. Agency Workspace is instrumental in streamlining the management of a broker’s BenefitMall book of business. Broker can use the tool to manage clients, start or review quotes, set up enrollments, view commissions or more.

LIFE
MassMutual and NHL Want to Know About Your Fave Hockey Mom

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and the National Hockey League (NHL®) announced a multiyear partnership, naming MassMutual the official life insurance and retirement planning partner of the NHL. The collaboration builds on MassMutual’s role as a retirement plan provider for the NHL. To launch the partnership, the NHL and MassMutual unveiled the NHL Most Valuable Hockey Mompresented by MassMutual campaign. Celebrating Mother’s Day and the sacrifices hockey moms across the United States make behind the scenes every day, the campaign runs until Friday, May 3. Fans in the United States can nominate hockey moms and share their inspiring stories of commitment, contributions and support to the sport and those who play it at www.nhl.com/MostValuableHockeyMom.

Insurance Needs Spring Cleaning Too– Info to share with clients

Life insurance “doctor” David Kottler, a financial planner with over 24 years experience, says insurance is one of the most crucial, and often missed, financial items that needs spring cleaning. Here’s how it’s done…

First step: Locate insurance policies. Thousands of individuals have life insurance policies they are not aware of. Billions of dollars in life insurance benefits stemming from long neglected or unknown life-insurance policies are everywhere. At one point, it was estimated that at least $10 billion in life insurance policies nationwide had gone unclaimed or unpaid. And that only includes universal and variable life policies. If all life policies were to be included, the number of policies that were lapsed would have a face value of $112 billion, according to Kotler.

Next: clear the clutter. Be sure to identify current policies and keep them together. Get rid of old policies whose terms have lapsed. Next, determine life insurance needs and only keep the appropriate coverage. “Hanging on to insurance you don’t need is like betting on a poker hand you know you aren’t going to win. There’s just no reason to do it. Make clear what you are trying to protect,” says Kottler.

Lastly, take action. The amount of insurance coverage depends on how much a family will need if an income is lost.  As with anything in life, this can change over time.

PEOPLE
AmeriLife Names Fleming Executive Vice President

AmeriLife named Patrick J. “Pat” Fleming as executive vice president product innovation & corporate actuary. This announcement comes as the company intensifies its partnership with leading carriers to deliver proprietary and other financial solutions to the pre-retiree and retiree market.

EVENTS

LAAHU Annual Conference- We’ll see you here!
April 17, 2019, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. Register here.

LAAHU’s Annual Conference is the largest in the state and includes updates from D.C., breakout sessions for IFP, small group, large group, medicare and more!

CAHU Capitol Summit & Expo
May 20-22, Sawyer Hotel, Sacramento

Join CAHU in Sacramento at the Sawyer Hotel for information about California and the future outlook for the industry. Hear from Commissioner Lara, representatives from the Governor’s office, legislators, political insiders and more about where California is headed. Work alongside peers and other members as CAHU works to educate representatives on the critical role of the agent. Register here.

IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference
June 12-14, 2019, New York City

NAHU Annual Convention –We’ll see you here!
June 29-July 2, Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Keynote speaker is Retired Master Sergeant Cedric King. Sessions focus on practical solutions for your business, including retaining today’s new workforce, buying or selling your agency, data transparency and alternative healthcare management.  And there’s an expanded Medicare Extreme! with proven practices and important trends on changes in Medicare, technology solutions, growing your business with group Medicare sales plus more.  Plus plenty of opportunity to visit with a variety of vendors and network with colleagues More info here.