Number of Uninsured Hits A High

As President Trump’s first year draws to an end, a new Gallup study says that the nation’s uninsured rate is up 1.3 percentage points to 12.2 percent. This increase in people who don’t have health insurance is particularly notable given that 2016 closed with a record low of 10.9 percent uninsured. The 1.3-point increase in the national uninsured rate during 2017 is the largest single-year increase Gallup and Sharecare have measured since beginning to track the rate in 2008, including the period before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. According to the Gallup findings, the 1.3 point increase represents an estimated 3.2 million Americans who entered the ranks of the uninsured in 2017. The California Healthcare Foundation says there may be as many as 2.9 million Californians who remain uninsured.

Good Times for Sutter Health Plus
Not-for-profit Sutter Health Plus recently announced the results of its 2017 goals, which showed significant gains toward it’s plan to transform health care in Northern California. Sutter’s membership increased 37 percent, with 80 percent of members renewing coverage.   Since its inception in 2014, the health plan expanded into three additional geographies, most recently offering coverage in Santa Cruz County. The Sutter Health Plus network includes 30 hospitals, 10 walk-in care facilities, dozens of urgent care centers and more than 7,000 providers.

The Basics of Health Captives for Small Employers
Still a bit unclear about what a captive is and how a small or medium employer might use one? Check out Mick Rodgers’ article in EBN.

LIFE INSURANCE

Rocky Times for The Duck
Columbus, Georgia-based Aflac has certainly seen better times. Once a Dividend Aristocrat for increasing dividends 30 consecutive years in a row, Aflac’s stock fell 7 percent last week amid complaints and a lawsuit filed by representatives for a small group of brokers. The allegations made by nine brokers include:

  • Recruiting thousands of employees with promises of six-figure incomes in the first year, which ultimately less than 2 percent of new hires manage to earn
  • Encouraging employees to sell policies to friends and relatives and recruit them into the company, akin to a multi-level marketing scheme
  • Widespread misclassification of employees as independent contractors, despite Aflac controlling virtually every aspect of the work experience
  • Much like at Wells Fargo, employees under pressure to meet sales goals selling policies without customer authorization or consent, illegally “bundling” policies, and issuing others to ineligible customers
  • Wage theft, where commissions rightfully owed to associates are transferred to managers
  • At least one charge of sexual harassment
  • Massaging of key operational metrics to prove company growth to investors
  • Earnings statement manipulation, by moving sales earned in certain weeks into different quarters to hit numbers
  • Retaliation against whistleblowers

Aflac released a statement saying the allegations against the company are false. According to the statement, Aflac intends to aggressively fight the allegations beginning with filing for their dismissal. The statement further says that the company has a “long history of operating with transparency and integrity, having been named by Fortune Magazine as one of the Best Companies to Work For for 19 consecutive years and a World’s Most Ethical Company by Ethisphere for 11 consecutive years.”

MARKETING

Who Doesn’t Want Gen X/Y Millionaire Insight?
Fidelity recently released its report on generation x/y millionaires.  Advisers take note: Gen x/y are the coming wave of wealth. It’s worth checking out what they value in financial advisers!

DENTAL

Bringing Smiles to Medi-Cal Patients – Maybe
Starting January 1, Denti-Cal restored benefits for many adult dental procedures. But the issue of coverage for Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal patients is a little more complicated than that.

A scathing report on Denti-Cal in 2016 by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, found that only a quarter of California dentists participate because of low reimbursement rates and administrative hassles. And finding a Denti-Cal dentist in rural counties is too often impossible.

But California officials say they are engaged in a statewide outreach effort to recruit more dentists and simplify the provider obstacles.

And last year, Denti-Cal increased the rates it pays dentists for many procedures by 40 percent, a boost that was funded by the tobacco tax, Proposition 56, which voters approved in 2016.

Read Emily Bazar’s entire story in Kaiser Health News.

WOMEN IN INSURANCE

Six Companies Step Up to Support Women In Insurance
Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) announced that six industry leaders have become 2018 partners with the organization to support the advancement of women in insurance and financial services. Continuing their commitment to furthering the WIFS mission to attract and advance women in insurance are Penn Mutual,  Prudential, Ameritas, Lincoln Financial Network – The WISE Group, Mutual of Omaha and National Life Group.

MEDICARE

Integrity Marketing Group Acquires Neishloss & Fleming
Dallas-based Integrity Marketing Group, LLC, an independent distributor of life and health insurance products, announced that it completed the acquisition of Neishloss & Fleming, Inc., a national wholesaler of Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage products. As part of the deal, Neishloss & Fleming’s owners became shareholders in Integrity. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

PEOPLE

Quinn New CFO at AmeriLife

Jim Quinn, AmeriLife CFO

AmeriLife has appointed James “Jim” Quinn as its Chief Financial Officer to oversee its accounting, finance, tax and acquisition functions.

EVENTS

Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) webinar —FMLA Communications
January 23, 9AM Pacific
Helen Applewhaite with the United States Department of Labor, and Angela Ripper with Unum, will provide Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidance and best practices. They will use the DOL Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act, case law and real-world examples to describe how communication regulations are applied in the workplace. To register, call 202-554-6796.

NAC3, the North American Crypto Currency Conference
March 24-25, Playa Studios, Los Angeles
Event appropriate for seasoned crypto currency pros and those merely curious about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchain etc. Tickets and info now available at https://www.nac3.io. Companies interested in sponsorship can contact info@nac3.io for details.

LAAHU Annual Conference
April 11-12, LA Convention Center
Registration, exhibit and sponsorship info now available!

IICF Casino Night
May 17, The Rotunda, 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.

NAILBA 37
SAVE THE DATE! November 1-3, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, Florida
Detailed information about NAILBA 37 will be available soon. Exhibit hall and sponsorship opportunities available here.  Or contact etoups@nailba.org for more info