Medicare Summit Off to a Great Start

Nicholas Uehlecke, an advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, helped kick off this year’s Association of Health Underwriters Senior Summit. Uehlecke delivered a Washington update and encouraged brokers to inform legislators about what’s really happening on the ground when it comes to insurance and healthcare access. Regardless of your political persuasion, remember that you’re serving your clients and the American public. Today and tomorrow promise to be jam-packed with info. Don’t miss tomorrow’s opening meditation with Cal Broker’s Naama O. Pozniak. And please stop by the Cal Broker booth.

 

 

Stop by booth #10 at the Senior Summit in Pechanga to visit associate editor Thora Madden and the Cal Broker four-legged mascot.

 

 

 

 

MEDICARE

CMS Unveils New Medicare Finder

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid launched an upgraded Medicare Plan Finder tool as part of the eMedicare effort to provide beneficiaries and their caregivers with a better user experience ahead of the Oct. 15 open enrollment. Users can now compare prices among traditional Medicare, MA, Medigap and Part D plans, using features such as personal medication lists to map out coverage and costs.

HEALTH INSURANCE

American Well’s 2019 Consumer Survey Finds Majority of Consumers Open to Telehealth

American Well® recently announced the findings of its Telehealth Index: 2019 Consumer Survey. The results show that 66 percent of Americans are willing to use telehealth, and 8 percent have had a telehealth visit with a doctor. While consumers value and recognize telehealth for its convenience, fast service and cost savings, 17 percent of consumers willing to try virtual care are not sure if their insurance plans cover the service, reaffirming the industry need for increased consumer education and awareness around telehealth’s availability and coverage.

Other key findings:

  • Convenience and cost drive adoption, but lack of awareness is an issue. Of those who indicate they are willing to use telehealth, 61 percent say they’d use it for convenience and faster service and 54 percent say they’d use it to save money. Moreover, 25 percent of respondents report they’d switch from their current primary care physician to a doctor offering video visits.
  • Millennials lead the way with telehealth usage. Findings show that millennials are most motivated by telehealth’s convenience, with 74 percent of 18-34-year-olds and 72 percent of 35-44-year-olds saying they are willing to use the technology. Millennials are nearly three times as likely to have had a video visit with a doctor compared to other demographics. Moreover, nearly 40 percent of millennials say they would regularly use telehealth for behavioral health management, also higher than any other age demographic.
  • Don’t rule out seniors when it comes to virtual care. Today’s seniors don’t want to wait for care, whether at the point of scheduling or at the point of service. That’s one reason why 73 percent of seniors who are willing to try telehealth point to faster service as the biggest motivator—higher than any other generation. With additional telehealth reimbursement for Medicare beneficiaries participating in Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2020, there is an increasing opportunity to support seniors’ use of telehealth to manage chronic conditions and for prescription renewals.
  • No matter their age, consumers delay care because it takes too long to see a doctor and due to cost. Seventy percent of consumers report that they have delayed seeking care for a health problem. While the most common reason for delaying care is that patients “thought the problem would go away,” the second and third most common reasons are that it “takes too long to see [the] doctor” and “cost.” Higher awareness of telehealth availability could potentially decrease the rates of delayed care.
  • Adoption of personal health monitoring devices and health apps is increasing.Two-thirds of consumers use personal health monitoring devices and 51 percent report using mobile health apps. While millennials are more likely to use health apps for nutrition and workouts, older generations are more likely to engage with their pharmacy and health insurance apps.

12 New Markets Say Hi to Oscar

Remember when Oscar Health was just a little ol’  startup focused on providing Obamacare coverage? Not anymore. Oscar now has 260,000 health plan enrollees in 9 states, including California. Now Oscar announced it will expand to 12 new markets and six new states to sell coverage for individuals and families in 2020. Earlier this month Oscar reported a second-quarter underwriting profit of $128 million. Oscar has also announced plans to enter the business of selling Medicare Advantage plans.

COMMUNITY

Region 8 Listens and Learns

The NAHU Region VIII Leadership Conference went swimmingly aboard the Queen Mary last week. Everyone learned a lot and particularly enjoyed listening to the insurance industry all star band including Bruce Benton , Chris Paton, Ruppert Reinstadler and Barry Cogdill.  A great big thanks goes out to MassMutual and BenefitMall, two of the event’s sponsors.

BUSINESS

L.A.’s Liberty Company Teams Up with Moody

Los Angeles-based Liberty Company Insurance Brokers , an independently owned, full-service broker, announced  a partnership with Moody Insurance Group of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This marks Liberty’s first venture outside of California, but company CEO Jerry Pickett says it won’t be the last. The move is simply the first of what will be several transactions to expand beyond the Golden State.

Integrity Marketing Group Receives Strategic Growth Investment

Integrity Marketing Group, the nation’s largest independent distributor of life and health insurance products to the senior market, announced it received a strategic growth investment from funds managed by Harvest Partners, a New York-based private equity firm with a 38-year history of investing in middle-market companies. Current investors HGGC and the management team will continue to collectively control a majority equity stake in Integrity. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Ethos Attracts $60m in New Round of Financing

San Francisco-based Ethos Technologies Inc., a company that sells term life insurance from Assurity Life online, has attracted a reported $60 million more capital to the company through the latest round of financing. The company uses online tech to facilitate the underwriting process. Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and a Google affiliate are said to be among the Ethos investors.

INSURTECH

WatchTower Expands Offerings
WatchTower, a cloud-based platform that aims to simplify the employer-sponsored insurance distribution process, announced it has expanded its offerings to support dental, vision and worksite insurance, doubling its product portfolio. The expansion now allows brokers to run an entire non-medical RFP through the company’s platform, which already supports life and disability insurance. Insurance brokers use WatchTower’s platform to obtain favorable pricing for employers by comparing bids from multiple insurance companies at once. Through the access of de-identified purchase transaction data, a broker can verify that an employer is offered equitable coverage at cost-effective rates compared to employers of similar size or industry.

EVENTS

LISI Health Benefits & Tech Summit

August 29- Santa Clara
Sept 9- Irvine

LISI presents BETA, the first health benefits and technology summit dedicated to improving the benefits industry through technology-focused collaboration and forward thinking. Network with a community of professionals engaged in the development of broker, carrier and partner technologies. Educational talks, tech focus groups, CE credit courses, guest appearances and much more. Admission is free! Registration and info here.

NAIFA- Los Angeles- Life Insurance Awareness Event

August 29, 2019, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm, Taix French Restaurant, Echo Park

Come join the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors for lunch, networking and guest speaker Pacific Life’s Michelle O’Hearn. Register 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.

LAAHU seminar- The Art of Networking

September 19, Skirball Cultural Center, 9 a.m.

Speaker Sarah Shirazi-Reznick will cover the how to be more effective and intentional in networking environments. Topics will cover include niche marketing, how to choose your network groups, power partners, elevator speeches and much more. Register 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.