Adios COVID?

COVID Is Waning (Really)

Super cool news:

New cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell for a fourth week in a row, dropping 17% last week to just under 290,000, the lowest weekly total since September, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data

HEALTH

Ricardo Lara Keynotes Tomorrow

Don’t forget to tune into California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara keynoting the LAAHU symposium May 13! Register here.

Sutter Health | Aetna to Expand Insurance Product Offerings in Northern California 

Sutter Health | Aetna announced its plans to offer fully insured products to employers across Northern California for the 2022 enrollment season. The announcement follows issuance of a Certificate of Authority from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), designating the joint venture healthcare company as an independent insurance carrier in the state.

Sutter Health | Aetna currently offers self-insured Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) commercial health plans to large employers in its 16-county service area. Today, if an employer wants a fully insured product, it must select an Aetna plan that includes the Sutter Health | Aetna performance network. Upon CDI approval, the joint venture will be able to sell its own fully insured products to employers.

Whole Lotta ACA Signups

The Hill reports that at least 1 million people in the U.S. have enrolled so far in Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage under the special sign-up period. Sign-ups are still ongoing until Aug. 15.

MEDICARE

Monoclonal Antibodies Bring More $, Become Household Phrase

Have you noticed all the television commercials lately suggesting that COVID patients ask their doctors for monoclonal antibodies? Well, there’s a good reason! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently boosted the Medicare payment rate for monoclonal antibody infusions to treat COVID. Effective May 6, the national payment rate is $450 for most healthcare settings, up from the previous rate of $310. That explain$ that.

INSURTECH

New Tech Helps Transition from Fully to Self Insure

Advanced Medical Strategies (AMS), a healthcare IT company that provides clinical insights and financial analysis of medical diagnoses, announced the launch of CensusRater. Housed on the AMS Predict Platform, CensusRater uses real-time claims data that empowers brokers to quickly assess a group’s total claims cost at varying specific deductibles, based solely on census data. CensusRater solves data gap problems by comparing a group’s census data to the actual claims of similar sized groups, in similar states, by age and gender, with similar claims rates.

The self-service risk module allows subscribers to preview a group’s risk profile and total claims cost, by adjusting Claims Rate Percentage, Spec/Agg Deductible, Premium Required, Risk Rate Percentage and Max Risk Tolerance. With results in minutes, brokers can avoid bad risk and prequalify profitable groups.

DO GOOD

Sack Lunch Drive in Greater L.A. Area

We’ve participated a few times in a  Sunday sack lunch drive for people without a home in the greater L.A. area. State Farm agents Diana Zahn-Storey and Ramiro Alvarez are the ones who always send us our emails, though there are many people involved in this grass roots effort. Basically, you sign up to pack some lunches and then drop them at whatever drop off location is near you.

There are drop offs in many neighborhoods — Pasadena, Beverly Hills, Los Feliz, Brentwood, Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Westlake Village and all points between! If you’d like to find out more or sign up to participate, check out  this Google doc.

MENTAL HEALTH

Memoir Details Author’s Journey with Mental Illness and Disability

May is Mental Health Awareness month and much of the talk is about reducing the stigma of mental illness. We recently received a book that goes a long way toward that. Ruth Poniarski’s new book, Journey of the Self: Memoir of an Artist, is an unflinchingly-honest memoir that’s a must-read if you want insight into what it’s like to struggle with mental health. The book has received glowing reviews, including a Kirkus Star review. Poniarski, diagnosed with psychosis, schizophrenia, severe anxiety and bipolar disorder, nonetheless has become an accomplished artist. Find out more about Ruth and see her art here. Journey of the Self is available at Warren Publishing, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other bookstores.

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH

Youth Mental Health Event May 20

PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s flagship PBS stations, along with the PBS nationwide initiative Well Beings,  announced a free virtual event and discussion examining youth mental health. The Southern California-based virtual event titled “Lowering Barriers: Race, Income & Mental Health” explores how race and income impacts mental health. Through the perspectives of local experts, young people and a few notable spokespersons/celebrities, attendees will learn how to reduce barriers to mental health support on an individual, community and structural level. The event will be streamed live on Thursday, May 20, 5 p.m. PT online at WellBeings.org/pbssocal.  For details about the free event or add the event to your calendar, visit WellBeings.org/pbssocal.

JOB FAIR

NAAIA Career Fair May 25

The National African American Insurance Association is hosting a career fair on May 25, 11-12:30 PT. Looks like a great opportunity to connect for positions ranging from internships to seasoned professionals. Register here.

PEOPLE

Aflac Names Takeko Uemoto SVP

Aflac Incorporated announced that Takeko Uemoto has been named senior vice president; enterprise corporate actuary. In this newly created role, Uemoto is responsible for leading enterprisewide regulatory capital management modeling and economic capital modeling in addition to providing actuarial analysis of Aflac Incorporated’s U.S. and Japan subsidiaries.

USG Hires Becki Starr

USG Insurance Services, Inc., a national wholesaler and MGA, announced the hire of Becki Starr as director of underwriting. In this role, Starr will oversee the development and expansion of USG’s binding authority relationships, delegated authorities and programs.

EVENTS

  • Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters Annual Symposium, Virtual, May 13-14. Sponsorship info here. Register here.
  • CAHU Capitol Summit, Virtual, May 17-19, Info here.
  • IICF International Inclusion in Insurance Forum, June 15-17. Register here.
  • BenefitsPro Broker Expo, virtual one day May 18 AND in person in San Diego, August 16-18. Save 15% with promo code RIGHTPLAN. Agenda here, register here.
  • NAIFA-LA , Building Business Insights (4 advisors/agents share their wisdom on creating a stronger business), Virtual, May 20, Register here.
  • American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, National Medicare Supplement Insurance Industry Summit, Sept 8-10, Schaumburg Convention Center, Chicago area. Info here