States Suing to Overturn ACA Have Most to Lose

In February, 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors challenged the constitutionality of the ACA in federal court. And last month U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice made the unorthodox decision not to defend key portions of the law. Kaiser Health News reports that some of the states fighting against the ACA have the most to lose if its overturned. Nine of the 11 states with the highest rates of preexisting conditions among adults under 65 have signed onto the lawsuit to strike down the ACA, according to data from insurance companies and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California isn’t one of the states. Read all about it here.

HEALTHCARE

HR6301 And More March On
The House Ways and Means Committee approved a package of bills that would expand benefits of HSAs and potentially reduce employer health benefit costs. H.R. 6301, which provides that a plan shall not fail to be treated as a high deductible health plan by reason of failing to have a deductible for not more than $250 of specified services (twice such amount in the case of family coverage) during a plan year, was ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives. Another bill would allow Medicare Part A beneficiaries to continue to contribute to existing HSAs even after they turn 65. Other bills would qualify significantly more health treatments, services and over-the-counter drugs for HSA spending and expand the definition of HDHPs to include ACA bronze plans and catastrophic plans. Read more about pending health care legislation here.

Aflac Offers BenExtend
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. Aflac’s new product –BenExtend, a group insurance product that combines accident, hospital indemnity and critical illness benefits into one plan design –aims to help employees limit exposure the financial risk. Aflac’s initial BenExtend release is available on an employer-paid basis for businesses with 100 or more benefits-eligible employees. Highlights of the plan include:

  • Health advocacy and bill negotiation services included at no additional charge to brokers, employers or employees.
  • High, middle and low options are available to accommodate a variety of client benefits budgets and scenarios. Each level features core coverages with premiums and benefits amounts differing based on the level selected.
  • Employers have the option to choose employee-only or full-family coverage.
  • Coverage is guaranteed issue, so insureds can enroll in coverage regardless of their health status with no underwriting questions.
  • Benefits are paid directly to the insured, unless otherwise assigned, and are paid regardless of any major medical insurance.
  • No waiting period for benefits to be paid.
  • No reduction in benefits as insureds get older.
  • Designed with HSA compatibility in mind.

Aflac says future releases planned in this line will deliver more flexible coverage opportunities, further adapting benefits delivery to the demands of the ever-changing American workforce and ongoing shifts in the health care industry.  Learn more at Aflac online.


BillingTree acquires iPayX expanding Healthcare and B2B portfolio offerings

BillingTree, a leading payment technology and services provider, announced it has completed the integration of additional digital payment solutions into its suite following the acquisition of electronic payment firm Internet Payment Exchange (iPayX). The company says iPayX XprsPay and CareView payment platforms are now fully supported BillingTree offerings, aimed to help organizations in the B2B and healthcare sectors to drive revenue through a flexible, easily manageable digital platform handling invoicing, bill presentment, customer communications and multi-channel payment acceptance.  A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the acquisition and ongoing operations is available here.

VISION

VSP Offers Totally Covered Progressives
VSP Vision Care announced it is setting a new standard as the only vision care company to offer covered-in-full standard progressive lenses as part of the benefit package. VSP Vision Care’s most popular plans now include coverage for standard progressives. This new offering is available to all new commercial employer and individual market members. In addition, about 40 percent of VSP Vision Care’s current commercial employer and individual market members were upgraded as of July 1 to have covered standard progressives, with additional members to be upgraded upon renewal in the coming months. This offering applies to individuals who have vision coverage through an employer or through VSP Individual Vision Plans.

LIFE

Americans Without Life Insurance Not Taking Action to Reduce Financial Risks
No surprise: New research announced by AIG reveals that consumers who do not have life insurance feel less prepared financially for the illness or death of self or a loved one than people with life insurance. A bit of a surprise: those same people are also not more likely to act to reduce risk. AIG also found that having insufficient retirement funds was among consumers’ most explored – researched, discussed or thought-about – risks. The research – conducted online with more than 8,100 U.S. consumers ages 21-64 – found that people who don’t own life insurance:

  • Feel 11 percentage points less prepared for death of self than those who have life insurance.
  • Are 14 percentage points less likely than life insurance owners to increase their rate of retirement savings in response to the risk of a market crash.
  • Are twice as likely to take actions to reduce financial risk of illness of self than of death.

This will not change anyone’s personality, but it might give you something to talk about: AIG offers Generation Station, an online tool to help quickly pinpoint appropriate life insurance offerings based on a client’s age, sex, and a few other attributes.

WEBINARS

Must-see Vimeo: Hodges-Mace “Can’t Get No (Benefits) Satisfaction”
Hodges-Mace has posted it’s previously broadcasted webinar “Can’t get no (benefits) satisfaction? Turn enrollment exhaustion into enrollment exhilaration with the right decision support” to Vimeo.  Tune in here anytime you like and soak in the wisdom of one of Cal Broker’s regular contributors.

NAFA Presents Nationwide’s Economic Forecast
Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide, will examine the current state of the U.S. economy and share a forecast for the second half of 2018 and beyond. Wednesday, July 25, 8:30am PT. Register here.

EVENTS

2018 DMEC Annual Conference
August 6-9, Hilton Austin, Austin, TX
More than 700 disability and absence management, HR and legal professionals will discuss paid leave, mental health, disability and more at the 2018 DMEC Annual Conference. Workshops and panel discussions include:

  • The Business Impact of Paid Leave:  An Interactive Workshop
  • Mental Health in the Workplace:  The Invisible Disability, Now Visible
  • FMLA/ADA Lessons Learned: Recent Court Cases, Jury Verdicts and Settlements
  • It Seems Simple, But: The Complexities of Reasonable Accommodation
  • ADA Leave Cases Post-Severson
  • Minimizing the Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace
  • State by State:  Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation
  • Disability and Fitness for Duty in Transgender Employees
  • Get Explicit About Implicit Bias

See a full program and more info here.

CAHU Health Care Summit
August 7-9, San Diego Hilton, Bayfront
This year’s theme is “New Hope for the Modern Agent.” This year CAHU will be offering multiple continuing education tracks on Medicare, IFP and group benefits, business Development and more. There will be two NAHU certification courses offered on August 7. Register for the Summit and a certification course and receive a $50 discount upon completing both registrations. Keynote speaker is Suzanne Delbanco, PhD, Executive Director of Catalyst for Payment Reform. Details here.

Golden Gate Association of Health Underwriters
4th Annual NORCAL Medicare Summit
August 16-17, DoubleTree Hotel, Pleasanton, More info at ggahu.org.

CAHU Foundation Gala
September 14, Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego
Please join CAHU for a Masquerade Gala to revitalize the CAHU Foundation. Festivities begin at 5:30pm at the famous Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Formal attire is requested.  Gala tickets and hotel reservations can be purchased here. Or call (800) 322-5934.  More info at the CAHU Foundation website. 

LAAHU and VCAHU Medicare Summit
September 20-21, Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, Burbank
September 20- certifications and product training (including SCAN)
September 21- C.E. Courses and breakout sessions! Theme is “Get Ready to Rock and Roll with Medicare.” Click here to register.

IICF Week of Giving 2018: October 13-20
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation announced the 2018 Week of Giving will be October 13-20. Registration for nonprofits and volunteers is now open. Check out IICF Week of Giving for more info. 

NAILBA 37
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.