Walmart Waves Buh-bye to CVS Health. What’s Up with Humana?

Looks like its splitsville for Walmart and CVS Caremark PBM commercial and Managed Medicaid retail pharmacy networks. Like any good split, there are two sides to the story. CVS contends Walmart was pushing back on the company and demanding higher reimbursements from CVS for its pharmacies. Walmart say it’s resisting efforts by CVS to steer consumers to certain pharmacies to have their prescriptions filled. Meanwhile, Humana has maintained a solid relationship with the retail giant and recently Walmart hired a former Humana executive, leading to speculation that the Walmart-Humana relationship could become stronger. Walmart will continue to fill CVS Caremark prescriptions as an in-network participating pharmacy through April 30, 2019. This transition doesn’t impact Walmart’s participation in the CVS Caremark Medicare Part D pharmacy network. In addition, Walmart’s Sam’s Club division remains in the CVS Caremark pharmacy networks.

HEALTH

Covered Cal Gives Last-Minute Shoppers a Lifeline

Covered California announced on Tuesday that it would give consumers who begin their enrollment application before midnight that night three additional days to complete the process. The move came after a surge of interest that saw more than 15,000 consumers sign up and select a plan on Monday.  Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said his organization aimed to help last-minute shoppers get across the finish line. Consumers who began their application before the end of Jan. 15 have until midnight on Jan. 18 to complete the process with the help of a certified enroller such as a Certified Insurance Agent or service center representative, as well as community enrollment partners such as Certified Enrollment Counselors, Certified Application Counselors and Plan-Based Enrollers. Those who finish their application by Jan. 18 will have their health care coverage start on Feb 1.

Need Some Health-splaining?

The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) and Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage (P4ESC) hosted a crowd of more than 150 health policy influencers this week at the Price of Good Health summit located at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. If you need some quality reading this week, you might want to download the whitepaper CAHC debuted at the meeting: Health Cost Primer: Explaining the Medical Cost Trend.”

FINANCIAL PLANNING

In Shutdown Recession Predicting Becomes Trickier

Don’t miss ThinkAdvisor’s post about recession warning signs. It seems right now the signs are a mixed bag. But this point caught our eye:

Keep in mind that there will be less economic data released during the government shutdown. Even the Labor Department, which is funded for the current fiscal year, reports that its household survey, which forms the basis of the unemployment rate, could be impacted if the shutdown continues because many Census Bureau staff members who collect that data have been furloughed.

The Census bureau also releases the monthly retail sales and new home sales report, which won’t be published during the shutdown. The Commerce Department, like the Census Bureau, is also shut down and won’t be releasing its reports on GDP, personal income, trade balance and current account balance while the shutdown continues.

Which leads us easily to this question: how will anyone be able to predict a recession? We mean, if it’s even coming…

Speaking of R-word…3 Tips To Prepare

Coincidences are strange. Also in our email today, Stash J. Graham, managing director of Graham Capital  Wealth Management, offered up his thoughts about a looming potential recession and how to prepare. “It is true that we are in the late stages of the current economic cycle,” wrote Graham, “The debate is about whether we will have an economic slowdown or an all-out recession.” Graham offered these tips for preparing for a slowdown or a recession. We understand they are pretty basic for the pros, but we’re passing them along anyhow:

Take a deep breath. People often let emotions rather than facts drive their decisions. Many investors panic if they fear a recession, and they make changes that cause what would have been a temporary loss to become a permanent loss. Other investors are ruled by a different emotion – greed – and take chances that they probably shouldn’t.

Think long-term. Both recessions and recoveries come and go, so it’s always good to keep in mind that old phrase “this too shall pass,” Graham says. If you stay focused on the long term, rather than the moment, you may be able to avoid costly mistakes. This is especially true if you’re young and retirement is still decades away.

Reduce risk. Even the young and adventurous should want to make sure they have a sound investment strategy and aren’t just rolling the dice. Having a high tolerance for risk is one thing. Gambling away your future is quite another. So, before the next recession arrives, Graham says, examine ways you can reduce at least some of the risk in your portfolio. If you are already at or near retirement age, you may want to take the risk level down quite a bit if you haven’t already.

“It always important to remember that the answers about what to do with your portfolio won’t be the same for everyone,” Graham says. “Your personal circumstances should be the driving force, rather than what’s happening in the market on any given day. The right move for your neighbor or your co-worker isn’t necessarily the right move for you.”

BRAVO

CVS Health Pledges $100 M to Community Health

CVS Health announced a $100 million commitment to its Building Healthier Communities initiative. CVS-Aetna maintains the combined company is committed to making community health and wellness central. The new initiative, which will be funded over five years through the combined company as well as the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation, builds upon the tradition of community investment by both organizations. Building Healthier Communities will focus on the following three areas: improving local access to affordable care, partnering with local communities and impacting public health challenges.

Way to Go, Humana

Humana took the No. 1 spot among Health Care Providers for its corporate citizenship, according to Forbes and JUST Capital in their new “JUST 100.” The JUST 100 ranks publicly traded companies in the United States based on how they perform against the American public’s definition of “just” corporate behavior.

PEOPLE

NAFA Intros Board of Directors and Committee Leadership

NAFA recently welcomed new blood to its Board of Directors and committee leadership for 2019. Those joining the ranks include:

Board of Directors
Kevin Mechtley of North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
Jodi Hyde of Fidelity & Guaranty Life
Tim Minard of Great American Insurance Group
Andrew Payne of CreativeOne
Craig Rudesill of Nationwide
David Schliesman of Allianz Life
David Wolfe of Advisors Excel

Membership Committee
Shannon Compton, The Annuity Source — Chair
Tony Compton, Great American Insurance Group — Vice Chair

Government & Legal Affairs Committee
Andrew Payne, CreativeOne — Chair
Ryan Lex, Athene — Vice Chair

Education Committee
Matt Tarkenton, Tarkenton Financial — Chair
Tiya Stanley, North American Company for Life and Health Insurance — Vice Chair

EVENTS

LAAHU Breakfast Meeting- Employment Law Update

January 17, 2019, 8-10 a.m.

Monterey At Encino, 16821 Burbank Blvd, Encino, CA 91436. Register here.

Marilyn A. Monahan, owner of the Monahan Law Office in Marina del Rey, will present on new employment laws. Marilyn focuses her practice on advising employers and consultants on compliance with employee benefit and insurance laws, including ACA, ERISA, HIPAA, and COBRA. Her volunteer activities include serving as Secretary of the Employee Benefit Planning Association (EBPA). Marilyn has also served on the Board of Directors of the Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) (2008-2018).

PIMA’s 2019 Industry Insights Conference

January 24-27, 2019, Margaritaville Beach Resort, Hollywood, Florida

Registration is now open for the Professional Insurance Marketing Association (PIMA) Industry Insights Conference. The conference will host expert speakers from leading companies around the country including Facebook, Forrester and Action Surge. Conference promises to explore new product and distribution trends; emerging markets that harness growth in new areas; social marketing to drive insurance business; marketing to Millennials and Gen Z; and an insurance industry overview of blockchain. Early bird registration and housing deadline is December 14, 2018. Visit PIMA’s conference page for more details and to register or call 817-569-7462 (PIMA).

BenefitsPRO Broker Expo

April 2-4, 2019, Hyatt Regency, Miami, FL

A leading educational and networking event for employee benefits brokers and agents. Cultivate important relationships and obtain the most practical industry education for positioning your business for sustainable growth. More info here.

LAAHU Annual Conference

April 17, 2019, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. Register here.  Exhibitor info here.  Sponsorship info here.

LAAHU’s Annual Conference is the largest in the state and includes updates from D.C., breakout sessions for IFP, small group, large group, medicare and more!

IICF Casino Night

May 16, 6-10p.m. San Francisco

Register here.

IICF Women in Insurance Global Conference- save the date!

June 12-14, 2019, New York City