Cal Broker is Conducting a Mental Health Benefits Survey!

California Broker is adding to it’s popular suite of surveys and views from the top. We’re conducting the first mental health benefits survey. If you haven’t been contacted and believe you should weigh in, please reach out to Thora Madden: thora@calbrokermag.com.

HEALTH
Rules Committee to Hold Hearing on ‘Medicare for All’

The House Rules Committee announced it will hold a hearing on “Medicare for All”  next week. The hearing will examine a bill from Reps. Jayapal and Dingell, which has more than 100 co-sponsors. The hearing is particularly notable because it’s the first time such a hearing has been held in Congress. The Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee are more typical venues for health care hearings, but observers contend this nonetheless signals that lawmakers are taking this legislation seriously.

Oregon Judge Halts Trump Admin’s Title X

A U.S. District Judge in Oregon says he will grant a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s Title X, a rule set to take effect in May that would’ve halted government funds for Planned Parenthood clinics that subsidize birth control for low-income women, and other clinics that provide abortions. The American Medical Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and several other parties sued in federal court in Oregon to halt the new rule. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said Title X would essentially prevent doctors from doing their jobs. The plaintiffs sought a national injunction but McShane stopped short of that, saying he was reluctant to set national health care policy.

AMA Likes New Federal Primary Care Payment Models

The American Medical Association (AMA) commended the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on their announcement that many primary care practices will be able to receive improved Medicare payments beginning next year through new payment models. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made the announcement at the AMA’s Washington Office during a meeting to discuss primary care delivery. The meeting was attended by more than 200 representatives of medical specialty societies.

He was joined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and Deputy Administrator and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Director Adam Boehler.  They announced that CMMI will be inviting primary care practices to participate in several new alternative payment models that will allow primary care practices to provide new types of services to their patients that are not supported by current Medicare payments.

Innovative physicians have used grant funding to demonstrate that providing more convenient access to practices, enhanced care management for patients with chronic diseases, in-home services for patients with acute conditions, and palliative care for patients with advanced illnesses can significantly improve the quality of care for patients while reducing total health care spending.

These new payment models have the potential to allow many more primary care physicians to deliver these high-value services to their patients while also saving money for the Medicare program. The AMA also commended Secretary Azar for basing the new payment models on proposals developed by practicing physicians and incorporating recommendations from the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC).

CDI’s Lara Rejects Petition to Force Fossil Fuel Underwriting Disclosure

Ricardo Lara, California’s new insurance commissioner, disappointed climate change activists and others concerned about the environment on Earth Day this year.

Lara, who put battling climate change on top when he was running for the top insurance job in the state, recently rejected a petition urging him to place new regulations on insurers to disclose which projects in the fossil fuel industry they underwrite.

MEDICARE

Agents Expecting Increased Medicare Supplement Insurance Sales

Nearly two-thirds of insurance agents reported increased sales of Medicare Supplement insurance in 2018 and a higher percentage expect continued growth in 2019, according to a survey conducted by California-based American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance.

The organization polled 1,000 insurance professionals who market Medicare insurance in advance of the Association’s national Medicare Supplement industry conference.  Over 300 agents completed the survey questions. The survey was sent to agents who are listed on the Medicare Supplement Association’s Agent Directory or who have attended national Medigap conferences.

Some 64.1 percent of the agents reported increased or higher sales of Medigap insurance in 2018.  Just over one-in-four (27.2%) indicated that their sales were about the same as the prior year with only 8.7 percent reporting decreased or lower sales.

The Association asked agents to predict their 2019 sales compared to 2018.  The vast majority – 68.6 % of agents –were more optimistic that their Medigap sales during the year would be higher. The percentage who expect decreased sales dropped to 3.8 percent.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

Alliance of Comprehensive Planners Announces 2019 Annual Conference in San Diego

​​​​​​The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP), a community of tax-focused financial planners who provide planning strategies for clients on a fee-only retainer basis, has announced plans for the 2019 ACP Annual Conference. This year’s annual ACP conference will be held Nov. 12-15, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina in San Diego.

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.

WEBINARS

AHIP -Fueling the Personal Consumer Health Journey with Data

Wednesday, May 1 | 10-11:00 a.m. PT

Health insurance providers and employers alike are bombarded by what seems like an endless supply of point solutions, creating chaos for both the organization in choosing what to offer to whom, as well as to members who must figure out how to navigate to the unique programs they need.

Learn how health organizations can provide the same kind of on-demand, personalized experience that consumers have come to expect from other industries.Learn more and register.

AHIP- Cost Optimization for Medicare Advantage Plans

Thursday, May 9 | 11 a.m.– noon PT

The Medicare Advantage market is becoming increasingly competitive, with three of the largest plans garnering 55 percent of MA enrollment and new plans entering each Annual Election Period. In order to grow, MA organizations must drive down administrative costs while exceeding member expectations.

Learn about the use of technology and automation to reduce errors in the enrollment and claims processes, and how these operations are integral in creating an unparalleled member experience. Learn more and register.

EVENTS

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.

 
NAAIA National Conference
Sept 11-13, Atlanta- SAVE THE DATE!
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 soon at www.naaia.org.