We Want You Life Carriers!

California Broker seeking Life Carriers for Survey Participation

Thora Madden, our new editorial assistant, is hard at work collecting answers for the life carriers View from the Top. Check out last year’s survey, in case you missed it. If you haven’t been contacted by Thora and you think you should’ve been, please email her: thora@calbrokermag.com. Deadline for submission is mid-July.

HEALTHCARE

UnitedHealth: Value-Based Care Saves $
UnitedHealthcare has been collaborating with UC San Diego Medical Center on a value-based care program for knee, hip and spine procedures that is helping reduce the number of hospital readmissions and complications following surgery. The Spine and Joint Solution uses a bundled payment method to encourage coordinated, efficient care for spinal surgeries and knee and hip replacements. Bundled payments pay a single, pre-defined fee for all the care associated with the surgery, encouraging physicians, hospitals and other caregivers to work closely together to improve quality and outcomes. UC San Diego is only one of 46 hospitals in the country participating in the Spine and Joint Solution program. UnitedHealths reports that the program has nationwide helped reduce hospital readmissions by 22 percent and led to 17 percent fewer complications for joint replacement surgeries, as compared to nonparticipating facilities. For spine surgeries, hospital readmissions were reduced by 10 percent, and there were 3.4 percent fewer complications, as compared to nonparticipating facilities.  Since the program’s introduction, participating employers have realized an average savings of $18,000 per operation when compared with median costs in the same metropolitan area. Eligible employees saved more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs per procedure when accessing a participating facility rather than another in-network medical facility. The Spine and Joint Solution has more than 115 companies enrolled nationwide. The program, available to companies of any size with self-funded health plans, provides employees with access to surgeons and facilities that qualify as UnitedHealthcare Centers of Excellence and accept bundled case rates for knee and hip replacement, spinal fusion and spinal disc repair. This example of “value-based” care is an area UnitedHealth says continues to grow. UnitedHealthcare’s care provider reimbursements that are tied to a variety of value-based care arrangements have nearly tripled in the last three years to $64 billion annually, and are expected to reach $75 billion by the end of 2020. More information available here.

Best’s Briefing: Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans See Positive Impact From Tax Law 
As a result of the changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), Blue Cross Blue Shield companies (Blues) reported a total change of $4.7 billion to their net deferred income tax on their 2017 year-end statutory statement, according to a new A.M. Best briefing. The Best’s Briefing, “Positive Impact of Tax Reform for Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans,” states that the favorable impact to the net deferred income tax compared with $854 million at year-end 2016. However, due to the impact of the TCJA many of these companies also reported a negative change in the value of the deferred tax asset, which partially offset the change in the net deferred income tax. The net effect was a positive $2.3 billion for the Blues in aggregate.  A full copy of this briefing can be accessed here.

VOLUNTARY BENEFITS

Colonial Life Fastest-Growing Vol Benefits Company
Eastbridge Consulting Group recently named Colonial Life the fastest-growing voluntary benefits company among large carriers. Colonial Life’s voluntary sales grew 7 percent in 2017, totaling $520 million. The performance earned Colonial Life the 2017 Voluntary Sales Growth Leader recognition. Voluntary sales totaled $8.1 billion in 2017, according to Eastbridge’s annual U.S. Voluntary/Worksite Sales Report. Voluntary benefits include any financial protection that employees can choose at the workplace, including life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, accident insurance, critical illness insurance and cancer insurance. Want more on voluntary benefits? Don’t miss the September and December issues of California Broker magazine, where we’ll take a look at the current offerings and what’s going on in the voluntary world.

TECH

 Most Under-35 Ok with Spying – if it Lowers Rates
The majority of people ages 18 to 34 would be willing to let insurance companies dig through their digital data from social media to health devices if it meant lowering their premiums. That’s what a survey of more than 8,000 consumers globally by Salesforce.com Inc.’s MuleSoft Inc contends. In the under-35 group, 62 percent said they’d be happy for insurers to use third-party data from the likes of Facebook, fitness apps and smart-home devices to lower prices, according to the survey. That drops to 44 percent when the older generations are included. Of the older generations, 45 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds are happy to allow insurers broad access to their digital identity, while only 27 percent of those 55 and older would do so.

Independent Insurance Agents Use of Tech Turns Toward Customer
Independent insurance agents have made important advances in awareness and use of digital technologies to improve the customer acquisition and service experience in the last two years, according to the Insurance Digital Revolution’s second Insurance Digital Transformation Survey. Today, the majority of agents, 95 percent, say that digital technologies are important or very important to their success, a substantial increase from the 58 percent who responded similarly in 2016. Historically, though, agents have spent more time focusing on tools that improve internal workflow and less on customer-facing technologies. That is changing: 67 percent of agents offer e-signature today, which is up from 54 percent in 2016. Agents have also improved their quoting capabilities, with 41 percent of agents offering this function, double the percentage of respondents from 2016 (20 percent). Moreover, agents are increasingly able to use their web-based portals to allow customers to request policy changes, check policy information and payments, report claims, obtain insurance ID cards, and get insurance certificates. Thirty-nine percent of agents provide portals today, up from 23 percent in 2016.

FINANCIAL WELLNESS

MetLife Offers Financial Wellness Whitepaper
MetLife announced it released Deciphering Financial Anxiety, the first paper in its four part series, “Financial Wellness: Creating a More Productive and Engaged Workforce.” According to MetLife’s 16th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study (EBTS), nearly half of employees, 46 percent, feel overwhelmed by financial decisions and 53 percent worry about their future because of their financial situation. This financial anxiety can impact other areas of employees’ lives, including their focus and concentration. Deciphering Financial Anxiety offers employers the guidance they need to assess the breadth of financial challenges facing employees. Access the whitepaper here.

MDRT

MDRT Holds Annual Meeting in L.A., Partners with The Exodus Road
We kicked back at the MDRT Annual Meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center this week. Don’t fret. We’ll soon share some of the insights we gained. Right now, though, we just want to say bravo to MDRT for deciding to partner with The Exodus Road’s Operation TraffickWatch. The group works to combat human trafficking in local communities around the globe. The MDRT Foundation will raise funds and equip its members with the skills necessary to recognize signs of human trafficking and take action to support rescue. Human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits each year and is the second largest criminal industry in the world. Fifty-eight percent of those living in modern slavery are located in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan. However, there are an estimated 57,700 victims (about 20,000 cases) in the U.S. alone with the most reported cases in California (more than 1,000 reported cases in 2017), Texas, Florida, Ohio, New York, Georgia and Michigan.  More info at the MDRT Foundation page.

TRAVEL

Going Somewhere? Better Check Your Plastic
The folks at WalletHub sent us over the results of the 2018 Credit Card Rental Car Insurance and Credit Card Travel Insurance studies, along with the results of the 2018 Credit Card Travel Benefits Survey. Just thought you might like to know:

  • Best Credit Cards for Rental Car Insurance – Credit cards from Citi, Chase and USAA top the list.
  • Best Credit Card for Travel Insurance – Chase Sapphire Preferred covers you up to $500K for travel accidents, $3K for lost luggage, $10K for trip cancellation, $500 for delayed trips, and $500 for delayed luggage.

EVENTS 

IICF Western Regional Forum
June 21, The Millennium Biltmore, Downtown Los Angeles
The one-day regional format provides opportunities for greater participation and networking with colleagues here in the West and beyond. There will be ample time for networking with speakers as well. Topic this year Drivingis Diversity: Cultivating Individual and Industry Confidence. Learn more at womensconference.iicf.org

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. Individuals who register for the Summit and a certification course will receive a $50 discount upon completing both registrations. 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 20th Certifications & Product Training(including SCAN!)
September 21st C.E. Courses and Breakout Sessions! Click here to register.

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