President Trump told reporters Tuesday that he’ll probably sign an executive order this week that will allow small businesses and other groups to join together to buy health insurance through new association health plans. The Hill reported that Republican Rand Paul is a major supporter of the idea. Opponents charge that this latest move is simply one more attempt to destabilize the Affordable Care Act. They worry that it may prompt healthier people to leave ACA plans to take advantage of the new association plans, which don’t have to play by the same rules. Trump was vague with details, but what he said did not ease the worries of anyone knowledgeable about insurance. “Now we’re going to have to do something with ObamaCare because it’s failing,” Trump said, sitting next to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. “Henry Kissinger does not want to pay 116 percent increase in his premiums, but that’s what’s happening and it’s actually getting worse. It’s getting worse by the minute so we’re going to have to do something with ObamaCare and that will work out.” AP Fact Check rightly pointed out what we all know: Henry Kissinger, who is 94, is covered by Medicare and it’s illegal to sell anyone on Medicare an ACA plan. It remains unclear where President Trump came up with the 116 percent number.
Covered CA: Agents Still Need to Get the Word Out
Covered California recently released a study titled “A Quantitative Study on Current Attitudes of Uninsured and Select Insured Californians Toward Health Insurance Coverage. ” The gist of the study is that awareness of ACA plans and subsidies is high in California, but “nearly 75 percent of subsidy-eligible uninsured Californians either wrongly assume they do not quality for financial help or are unsure whether they do.” Covered California says potential customers still need more education and outreach to understand their eligibility. A graphic display of the major findings from the study can be found here.
Health Net’s Bay Area Network Expands to Include Canopy Health
Health Net, Inc., one of California’s largest health insurance companies, announced its partnering with Canopy Health in 2018 to provide more Health Net members in the San Francisco Bay Area with access to the combined doctor and hospital networks of Canopy Health, which includes John Muir Health and UCSF Medical Center.
Gov. Brown Signs New Pharma Law
This week California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB-17, a sweeping drug price transparency bill that will force pharmaceutical manufacturers to publicly justify substantial price hikes. The new law will require drug companies to give 60 days’ notice to anytime they plan to raise the price of a drug by 16 percent or more over two years on drugs wholesaling at $40 or more. They must also explain why the increases are required. The advance notification provisions take effect Jan. 1, while other reporting requirements don’t take effect until 2019. “Californians have a right to know why their medication costs are out of control, especially when pharmaceutical profits are soaring,” Brown said in a statement posted on the governor’s website.
If you sell long-term disability, point your clients to this article on Kaiser Health News. Reporter Michelle Andrews writes that…”Benefits consultants agree that although long-term disability coverage lacks the novelty appeal of some other benefits that companies are offering these days — hello, pet insurance — it can prove much more valuable in the long run.”
CNO Honored for Treating Employees Well
CNO Financial Group, a holding company for several national life and health insurers that serve middle-income working Americans and retirees, was recognized by the National Business Group on Health for having one of the best workforce health and well-being programs in the nation. CNO Financial received, for the third consecutive year, the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles® Platinum award – the highest designation – for its commitment to promoting a healthy work environment.
Bad Actors in Viaticals Brought Down
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a Georgia-based viatical firm that advertised on the Rush Limbaugh radio show and prayed on the vulnerable and misinformed is being brought down by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, Credit Nation, and founder Jim Torchia are under investigation. Other associates, including Georgia attorney Marc Celello and ex-CFO Michael Sullivan are also implicated. The SEC is calling Torchia’s actions with Credit Nation – as well as with his former company, National Viatical — ponzi schemes.
AM Best Webinar: How Life Insurers Compensate Producers- Oct 12, 11am Pacific
AM Best is offering a webinar about how life insurers are changing how they motivate and compensate producers. Register here.
#IICFWeekofGiving Oct 14-21!
Last year nearly 8,500 industry colleagues and friends participated in the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Week of Giving. This year you can too! Give your time, talent and resources to benefit your local community. Volunteer as an individual or as part of a company team or group from different companies. The week will be packed full of volunteering projects. If you have one hour, you can write cards and letters of appreciation to our service men and women from your office. If you have three or four hours, you can help at a food bank or shelter, read to preschoolers at an early literacy event, clean up a community park — or many other activities with local nonprofit organizations. Projects will take place in cities throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Explore projects and register to volunteer at www.weekofgiving.iicf.org New projects continue to be added.
LIMRA Annual Conference – Oct 22-24, National Harbor, Maryland.
The 2017 LIMRA annual conference will feature John Boehner, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and John Brennan, former CIA director as general session speakers. Other sessions will address opportunities and strategies to better engage consumers through technology and Insurtech, marketing and distribution, and big data and data analytics. LIMRA also recently announced a CEO panel discussion with Thomas Marra, FSA, MAAA, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Symetra Financial Corporation; Ted Mathas, chairman and chief executive officer, New York Life Insurance Company; Robert L. Reynolds, president and chief executive officer, Putnam Investments and Great-West Financial and Robert A. Kerzner, CLU, ChFC (moderator), president and chief executive officer, LIMRA, LOMA, and LL Global, Inc. For more info and registration go to LIMRA’s Annual Conference page.
Women in Insurance and Financial Services 30th Annual National Conference – Oct 25-27, Minneapolis
This year’s conference, Dream It Achieve It, will celebrate the impact that women are making in the insurance and financial services industry. The conference focuses on empowering women through dynamic educational workshops, networking events and inspirational sessions that help women invest in their futures. An additional element of this year’s conference is a featured session that provides attendees the opportunity to earn continuing education (CE) credits. The exhibit hall will host 50 vendors with products and services aimed at elevating the businesses of those in the industry. Workshop topics include marketing strategies, sustainable investing, Department of Labor policy, best practices, team building and more. Learn more and register at the WIFS conference page.
NAILBA 36 – Nov. 16-18, Hollywood, Florida
Registration is now open for the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) 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