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Now for this week’s news and events…
A Strong and Not-So-Positive Link Between Senate Tax Bill and Insurance
Analysis from Commonwealth Fund contributors Sara Collins, Munira Gunja, and Herman Bhupal concludes that Congressional Republicans are looking to the Affordable Care Act to help pay for the proposed $1.5 trillion tax bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As passed by the Senate Finance Committee, the legislation includes a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate to have health insurance. From the Commonwealth’s recent post:
“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the repeal would save the federal government $338 billion between 2018 and 2027, resulting from lower federal costs for premium tax credits and Medicaid. By 2027, 13 million fewer people will have health insurance, either because they decide against buying coverage or can no longer afford it. Since many of those expected to drop coverage in the individual market would be healthy, insurers would increase premiums to cover costs for a pool of less-healthy enrollees. CBO projects that premiums in the individual market — which includes the ACA marketplaces — would be 10 percent higher nearly every year over the next decade. About 7 million of the estimated 17 million people who buy their own coverage on the individual market do not receive ACA premium subsidies that rise with the cost of premiums, and therefore would face the full increase.” Read the whole post at To The Point.
Big I’s Prez Also Not Particularly Fond of Tax Bill
Amid the House’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Bob Rusbuldt, president and CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) released a statement saying he was appreciative of the U.S. House of Representatives’ effort to grow our economy and create new jobs through a modernized tax code, but the Big ‘I’ “remains concerned” that the bill passed by the House of Representatives would place a number of Big ‘I’ member businesses at a competitive disadvantage with their C Corporation counterparts and would create a new tax disparity between different types of pass-through businesses. More info here.
Aflac Launches BenExtend
Aflac, a provider of voluntary insurance sales at the worksite, is enhancing its benefits offerings through the launch of its BenExtend product. As the first release in an evolving life stages coverage line, BenExtend is a group insurance product that combines accident, hospital indemnity and critical illness benefits into one simple plan design. For employers seeking more creative solutions to manage health care costs while also trying to help employees manage out-of-pocket expenses, BenExtend delivers an innovative alternative. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 84 percent of employers have begun to offer consumer-directed health plans. In 2017, high-deductible health plans (HDHP) range from $1,300 to $6,550 in out-of-pocket costs for an individual policyholder and $2,600 to $13,000 for a family. BenExtend helps employees mitigate these costs and limit exposure to financial risk. Aflac’s initial BenExtend release is available on an employer-paid basis for businesses with 100 or more benefits-eligible employees. To learn more, visit Aflac.com.
Employee Benefits: Genomic Testing Is Here
Employee Benefit News recently reported that a small Illinois-based law firm has added cancer genomic testing to its benefits package off-cycle. This is one of the very first employers to make the offering. Kelleher & Buckley LLC, a law firm located in the suburbs of Chicago, now offers a cancer genomic profiling program to its 48 employees. Employees receive a certificate for genomic testing through Wamberg Genomic Advisors, a California-based firm that works with U.S. labs to conduct therapeutic tests. The law firm pays between $8 and $15 per employee per month. The cost depends on the age of the employee, who doesn’t pay for the benefit. Editor’s note: Don’t miss California Broker’s December issue where Dr. Phil Smalley, chief medical director for Wamberg Genomic Advisors, further explains genomic testing in the employee benefit space.
Guardian Makes Historic Annual Dividend Pay Out
Guardian, one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a provider of employee benefits, announced its board of directors approved a $911 million dividend allocation to its individual life policyholders in 2018. Deanna M. Mulligan, Guardian’s president and chief executive officer, said the pay out was the largest annual dividend pay out in the company’s history. The dividend interest rate, which is the investment component of the dividend, will remain 5.85 percent in 2018. For more information, visit Guardian’s website.
Hmmm…Is This Really the Future of Dental Insurance?
Dentacoin, a hopeful disrupter of the dental insurance industry, has introduced a number of Blockchain-based tools, as well as two dental clinic concepts with Blockchain-integrated functionalities. A Dentacoin Foundation spokesperson says that the cornerstone of the Dentacoin concept is Dentacoin Assurance – a dental insurance-like model, which aims to align the interest of the patient and the dentist. According to a brief article submitted to Cal Broker by Dentacoin Foundation’s online reputation and public relations manager: “Dentists, like many other professionals, struggle to find the time and resources to ensure each and every client they see gets the preventative treatment they need to reduce the likelihood of costly procedures in the future. What Dentacoin is planning could blow the whole system wide open because there will be transparent, verifiable records of transactions showing a dentist’s history with preventative treatment and this can motivate the dental industry to work harder to provide excellent services to the people who need it. With Dentacoin’s transparent and reliable feedback system (Trusted Reviews Platform), clients can have better access to information regarding their options for dentists and dental treatments; this system creates a need for dental professionals to take a hard look at their practices to ensure they are providing the best care possible for their clients. On the other hand, the patient is advised to maintain regular dental hygiene with the help of Dentacoin’s aftercare mobile app (DentaCare) thus ensuring proper dental care. The upcoming introduction of Dentacoin’s insurance-like model will provide a full circle experience for clients seeking dental treatment, preventative measures and long lasting dental health.” More info can be found at Dentacoin. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAILBA Honors AIG’s John Deremo at Annual Meeting
The National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) recently presented John Deremo, recently retired executive VP and chief distribution officer of life insurance of AIG, with its 2017 Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence. The annual award, NAILBA’s most coveted and prestigious accolade, honors distinction in brokerage and is bestowed upon the individual most committed to furthering independent life brokerage as a distribution system, and who demonstrates an exemplary record of community service. Deremo was recognized at a special awards dinner held November 17, 2017, as part of the association’s annual meeting, NAILBA 36.
LAAHU Holiday Party- Dec. 19, Tarzana (change of venue! Please note date!)
LAAHU, with support from Health Net, will host a holiday cocktail party at Chablis food +wine in Tarzana Dec 19 from 4:30pm-7:30pm. Cost of admission is an unwrapped gift or $15. Register now!
Also: Save the date!
LAAHU Annual Conference, LA Convention Center April 11th–12th, 2018
Sponsorship & Exhibitor
Information coming soon
IICF Casino Night -May 17, San Francisco
Join the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation for a fun night of gambling and insurance industry networking while also raising money for community grants. The event takes place at The Rotunda, Union Square, San Francisco. Registration and sponsorship info available at IICF’s website.