McConnell: this “certainly won’t be easy.”

Maybe your loved ones once accused you of working in a boring industry, but we always knew the truth: insurance impacts real lives and is full of consequence. Now lawmakers have also ensured the industry is full of political drama. The latest is that senators rejected a key proposal that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act despite intense pressure from conservatives. This was the second plan rejected after the Senate voted down a separate repeal-and-replace amendment last night.

Repealing portions of the ACA without a replacement could leave as many as 18 million people without health insurance the following year, says a report released by Congressional Budget Office (CBO). After the elimination of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies, 27 million people may lose insurance, rising to 32 million in about a decade, the CBO says.

Still, Republicans are said to be searching for a way to fulfill their long-held campaign pledge to repeal and replace ACA. The mere fact that they’re having the debate this week was seen as a small victory. Earlier in the week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrangled 50 GOP senators to agree to start debate on the House-passed healthcare bill. Vice President Mike Pence broke the 50-50 tie so debate could proceed.

But during the first amendment vote on Tuesday evening, nine Republican senators joined with Democrats to vote against the Republican-led BCRA. The setback doesn’t prevent GOP leaders, however, from offering another version of BCRA during what is expected to be a long floor debate. McConnell said that while the proposal failed, it nevertheless “represented a number of important health care reform ideas developed by our members.” The Hill reported today that he also said that the effort to repeal the ACA, or repeal and replace it, “certainly won’t be easy.”  Yep, we couldn’t agree more.

Speaking Out Against the Medi-Cal “Bad Rap”
Avram Goldstein, Senior Engagement Officer at the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), posted a blog today in which he interviews Chris Perrone, who has spent nearly two decades helping Medi-Cal work better and is director of Improving Access at CHCF. The reason? They believe a commentary by Allysia Finley in The Wall Street Journal has given Medi-Cal a bad rap. Finley writes in her July 18 article that  “If ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid were measured merely by growth in enrollment and spending, California’s Medi-Cal program would rank as a huge success. But despite the surge in enrollment and spending — or perhaps because of it — Medi-Cal has failed to fulfill its stated goal of improving health-care access for the indigent and disabled.” She argues that by opening Medi-Cal to younger, healthier people, “California made it harder for those who most need low-cost care to get it.” Perrone says he’s dissappointed with the commentary and it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the people Medi-Cal serves. Be sure to read the entire blogpost.

More Insight Into California Single Payer
Employee Benefit News recently ran an interview with John Scatterday, senior vice president and public agency employee benefits practice leader at Keenan, a Torrance-based benefit brokerage firm. Scatterday says there’s enormous support for single payer insurance that’s free, but not so much support when taxpayers find out how much it will cost. Read more about Keenan’s take on this pressing but very fluid issue in our state at EBN.

EVENTS

WarnerFest Broker Event – Tomorrow! (July 27) – Fresno
Don’t miss WarnerFest 2017 tomorrow –July 27– in Fresno. Experts will get brokers up to speed on single-payer health care, time-saving tech tools and fourth quarter readiness. Carrier partners will also be in attendance at this complimentary event and breakfast meeting. For more information, visit the WarnerFest webpage.

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. Get tickets here.

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 site to find about workshops for the Certified Medical Tourism Professional (CMTP) designation and more.

NAILBA 36 – Nov. 16-18, Hollywood, Florida
The National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) opened registration for its 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. A complete schedule of events can be found here. Register at the NAILBA 36 website.

PRODUCTS

Whole life. Guardian Life Insurance introduced Guardian EstateGuard Whole Life Insurance. The product offers a tax-advantaged financial strategy for protecting, conserving and transferring wealth to heirs who would otherwise incur high estate taxes. This type of policy offers preservation strategies that: accelerate the issuance of death benefits, have two people insured under one policy with survivorship benefits and increase the policy cash value after the first death. For more info, go to Guardian’s website.

Credit monitoring benefit. MetLife has added credit monitoring services to its group legal services employee benefit plan, MetLaw, which is provided by Hyatt Legal Plans, a MetLife company. The new credit monitoring service, available to employers with 1,000 or more employees, strengthens the product’s identity theft protection services for participants. The new credit monitoring service, provided by CyberScout, scours the internet and major credit bureaus to help uncover and minimize fraud in the early stages and provides members with a dashboard of credit reports to monitor their credit scores. If identity theft is uncovered, fraud specialists work to restore the member’s identity. Participants who experience an identity theft incident can also be reimbursed up to $1 million for reasonable and necessary expenses related to the incident, such as lost wages and unauthorized electronic fund transfers. For more information, visit the Hyatt Legal Plans.

Disability. Standard Insurance Company has launched a guaranteed standard issue (GSI) version of its new income protection product, Platinum Advantage. GSI allows employers to offer highly compensated employees individual disability insurance coverage that can help ensure they can maintain their way of life after experiencing a disabling illness or sickness. Coverage provides employees with monthly benefits that can be used to pay bills, take care of their families and maintain their current lifestyles if they become ill or injured and can’t earn a paycheck. Advantages also include: No medical underwriting, no need to submit financial documentation beyond the company-provided census, portable policies that are individually owned, identical premium rates for men and women and coverage for employees up to age 99. For more information on Platinum Advantage and a full list of features, producers can visit The Standard .