A Glimpse of CapCon

Here’s a peek of the fun being had in Washington, D.C., at NAHU’s CapCon. Below is a crew of OCAHU and other Californians at the HUPAC reception with California Representatives Young Kim and Michelle Steel.

ALSO…Orange County folks — don’t forget that OCAHU’s Sales Symposium is coming up March 11. Info here.


Register Now for Capitol Summit in Sacramento!

CAHIP’s Capitol is back in person. Join your colleagues May 9-11 at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento. At this event, you’ll get a chance to:
  • Meet with state legislators
  • Hear from industry thought leaders
  • Stay up to date on federal and state efforts
  • Share ideas with colleagues

Registration info here. Sponsorship info here.


Optum Launches Specialty Fusion to Simplify Specialty Care and Lower Costs 

Optum recently announced the launch of specialty medication management solution Optum® Specialty Fusion™. Using Optum’s data and clinical expertise, Specialty Fusion provides health care payers and care providers real-time insight into the most effective specialty treatment at the lowest cost to the patient. Results include a simpler experience for providers and faster treatment approvals for patients. According to an Optum analysis, the solution generally provides a 17% total cost savings in medical and pharmacy spend.

In a statement, Optum Rx Senior Vice President Kerry Tanner said, ”The average specialty patient sees more than five care providers per year, while taking more than 10 drugs on average. They often have to wait for multiple treatment regimens to be approved, and need better support navigating their treatment plan and health benefits. We developed a new comprehensive, benefit-agnostic solution that supports streamlined treatment decision-making for care providers, helping patients get on their therapies faster, while driving down high costs.”

Optum Specialty Fusion is now available to all large health plans. Additional information is available here.


ThinkAdvisor: What Do You say About Russian-Ukraine War?

ThinkAdvisor has a slideshow up with comments on how advisors around the country are talking to clients about the Russian-Ukraine war. Noah Damsky from Marina Wealth Advisors in Los Angeles makes an appearance. From Noah:

The best thing to do when tension builds and geopolitical headlines dominate the press? Stand pat. Stick to the client’s long-term strategy.

Check out the whole slideshow here.


Aflac Partners with NeuroFlow

Mental health professionals say that too often someone can suffer from a mental or emotional challenge and not fully realize the severity. Yet earlier detection can mean earlier intervention, which can significantly influence the outcome for both employees and employers. That’s the impact Aflac hopes to have with its newly announced strategic relationship with NeuroFlow, a mental health solution designed to help individuals screen and monitor existing and undetected behavioral health conditions. The NeuroFlow solution is designed to help fill gaps that may exist in an employer’s behavioral health program by proactively detecting potential issues while also offering digital educational content for general wellness, as well as for conditions like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and more. To get ahead of preventable adverse events before an individual’s condition worsens, NeuroFlow’s Response Services provide high-touch telephonic outreach to AI-identified, high-risk individuals to route them to the appropriate level of care. Beginning in Q3, NeuroFlow will be available to new and existing Aflac clients that have fully insured group long-term disability policies with more than 1,000 covered lives. By offering NeuroFlow widely to qualified accounts, Aflac aims to support and improve employee health.


Gil Mares Wins Will G. Farrell Public Service Award + Other Standouts!

NAIFA-LA & FSP-Pasadena honored the following financial pros at the recent Will G. Farrell Awards Event:

  • Leticia Anguiano of Strategic Choices Financial received the Agent of the Year Award.
  • Quality Award Winners were: George Geldin and Jose Rodriguez, Jr. receiving the Health and Employee Benefits Awards and Tom Michel receiving the Life and Annuities Award.
  • Lynne Rosenberg accepted her permanent trophy for being the 2021 recipient of the Will G. Farrell Award.
  • The highest, most prestigious, and most coveted award of this event, the Will G. Farrell Public Service Award, for 2022, went to Gilbert Z. Mares, MPA, LUTCF.

A little about Gil from NAIFA-LA:

He began his insurance carrier in 1975 after having been an aide to the chair of the White House Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish Speaking People, an examiner for LAUSD, and the community director for Management Training for the Hispanic Coalition of Los Angeles County. Known for his amazing political relationships, Gil has served NAIFA-Los Angeles in various capacities, including president, chair of Government Relations Committee, and chair of the Political Involvement Committee. His contributions to his community are endless, including Pasadena Police Foundation, American Legion, Lions Club, and Boy Scouts. Definitely well-deserving, Gil exemplifies what true public service is all about. He is very proud and humbled to be the first Hispanic of Mexican descent, 2nd generation Texan, raised in Los Angeles, to receive this award.

Congratulations Gil Mares and other award recipients!


AHIP Comments on State of the Union Address

America’s Health Insurance Plan’s President and CEO Matt Eyles released a statement after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last night. Here’s some of it:

Every American deserves access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage. And that commitment has been most important as health insurance providers have taken decisive action throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect and improve people’s health and financial stability. Working with federal and state leaders, we continue this commitment today.

We strongly support making permanent the premium savings provided to hardworking Americans who buy coverage on their own through the American Rescue Plan. Those savings greatly help improve the affordability and accessibility of health care coverage.

The President is right: Drug prices are out of control, particularly for insulin, which is lifesaving for millions of Americans. But we must hold drug manufacturers accountable and not give them a free pass to raise insulin prices every single year. Imposing co-pay caps that do nothing to address underlying prices set and controlled by manufacturers will not help consumers and American businesses – they would only end up paying for those caps through higher insurance premiums and copays.

We also strongly support the call for action to improve access to quality behavioral health care for all Americans, particularly among under-represented and underserved communities…

Last week in an AHIP webinar, Eyles said the organization is prioritizing health equity and ensuring more people maintain affordable health insurance this year. AHIP sees competition and choice as key factors to their agenda, according to Eyles. The organization is also developing a post-pandemic plan to help people who who became eligible for Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act coverage during the pandemic maintain coverage.


AHCA Releases Report Highlighting Unprecedented Economic Crisis in Nursing Homes

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) released a new report outlining the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s nursing homes. The report, produced by CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), highlights that the cost of care and other operations in nursing homes is far exceeding their reimbursement rates, resulting in a projected 4.8% negative margin. The industry is also facing a historic workforce crisis and significant declines in occupancy as a result of the pandemic. The unprecedented challenges have resulted in reduced access to care for seniors and individuals with disabilities across the country.


  • LIMRA’s 2022 Distribution Conference, in person, March 1-3, Miami, FL, Info here.
  • OCAHU’s Annual Sales Symposium, in person, March 11, Lake Forest Community Center. Info here.
  • CAHIP’s Women’s Leadership Summit, in person, March 14-16, 2022, Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, Info and registration here.
  • LAAHU Annual Symposium, in person, April 26, Pasadena Convention Center. Info here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, in person, May 23-25, 2022, Austin, TX. Request more info here. Register here.
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